2 May, 17

Parents Not to Blame

We  represented the mother of Effie Stillwell, through our colleague, William Bache.

Her case illustrates a dire state of affairs in our courts.

The  causes of serious injury or  sudden death in very young babies remain insufficiently understood.  Yet outdated and ill researched mainstream medical opinion too readily concludes  they arise from  abuse.

Ultimately clear evidence was found that Effie was suffering from a type of a  poorly understood condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome pointing to natural causes. The scientific picture is often more obscure.

Wherever science is developing,  valid but opposing opinions inevitably arise. Fairness  requires considering such competing views.  It is impossible otherwise to hear both sides of the case.

In the current climate ,  the number of  experts of high calibre willing to give evidence which challenges  conventional mainstream  opinion is diminishing.  Moreover  financial constraints  encourage some courts to insist on  one expert per discipline only.  Consequently  competing opinions are insufficiently represented.

The result can be that happy families are needlessly destroyed and  innocent parents  serve long prison sentences.

Where  dark corners remain in medical understanding  should not the system encourage  a range of expert opinion?

This case has been widely reported by many news agencies and publications, to include: BBC News; The Times; Daily Mail; Daily Express.

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