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Friday, 7 February, 2003, 06:00 GMT
Calls for review after Clark case
Sally Clark and her husband Stephen outside court
Sally Clark served three years in prison
A peer has called for a review of procedures for evidence given by expert witnesses in the light of the Sally Clark case.

Mrs Clark's conviction for the murder of her two baby sons was overturned by the Appeal Court last week.

The 38-year-old from Wilmslow, Cheshire, always maintained she had not killed 11-week-old Christopher and eight-week-old Harry.

Lord Mitchell, a Labour peer and friend of Mrs Clark's father, said lessons needed to be learnt from her case.

Fatally infection

He said one expert witness at Mrs Clark's trial had wrongly stated that the chances of two cot deaths in one family were one in 73 million.

A pathologist had also testified that the second baby had been healthy when he died, when in fact there was evidence that the baby was fatally infected.

Lord Mitchell added: "Mrs Clark was lucky, in that she was a solicitor.

"But what of those who are currently in prison, serving sentences for similar crimes where the prosecution has used identical expert witnesses, and who did not know how the system operates? Where is their justice?"

'Tragic case'

Home Office minister Lord Falconer of Thoroton described it as "a tragic case".

The government is awaiting the court's written judgment to see what lessons needed to be learned.

There was a need to ensure that the independence of expert witnesses could be relied on, Lord Falconer added.

He told peers: "The worry is always that either the competence or the arrogance of an expert deprives other parties of the opportunity to look at the full case."


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29 Jan 03 | England
28 Jan 03 | England
02 Jul 02 | England
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