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Lord Justice Alan Ward
"It has been excruciatingly difficult"
 real 56k

Friday, 22 September, 2000, 13:56 GMT 14:56 UK
Judge: An excruciating decision
Lord Justice Alan Ward
Lord Justice Alan Ward outside court on Friday
One of the judges who decided the Jodie and Mary Siamese twins case has spoken of his agonising dilemma to the BBC.

In a virtually unprecedented move, Lord Justice Alan Ward spoke to the BBC on the steps of the Appeal Court.


The pain of being on the sharp horns of this dilemma is excruciating

Lord Justice Alan Ward
He said that his "heart bled" for the family involved - and has already admitted suffering sleepless nights during the hearing.

He said: "It has been excruciatingly difficult. There are the most dramatic questions of life and death involved.

"There are serious questions of criminal law which have not been fully explored for centuries.

"The question is simple - do you kill one to save the other, or do you let two die?

"The pain of being on the sharp horns of this dilemma is excrutiating because you do worry - and you do your best."

He said he felt "desperately" for the parents.

He said: "Imagine your hopes are lifted by the idea of having twins, which I know is a most wonderful thing, and then cruelly, cruelly, they are born as they are. A desperate plight."


It's very doubtful to see how far this takes the law

Lord Justice Alan Ward
However, when asked whether his judgement would form a landmark decision, he pointed out how its unusual features set it aside.

"It's very doubtful to see how far this takes the law, because it caters for something that is totally unique."

But the legal system was still the right place to consider such controversial ethical and moral issues, he said.

"Whose job is it to decide questions of life of death? - the courts. Not a job we ask for, but a job we have to do, most certainty."

Whatever his verdict, he believed that it would certainly be controversial.

"50% will agree and 50% will think we've gone completely potty," he said.

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