Dr Waney Squier
Shaken Baby Syndrome
May] At least half of all parents tried over shaken baby syndrome have been
wrongly convicted, expert warns Dr Squier has an impeccable
professional reputation so she was shocked early last year to receive a letter
from the Human Tissue Authority, an organisation which ensures that doctors keep
good records and have consent for everything they do. ‘The Metropolitan Police
had raised concerns about the way I was handling post-mortem tissue and the
possibility that unrecorded material was being stored, used and disposed of
without the knowledge of the police. Fortunately, our procedures at John
Radcliffe are absolutely robust, we know where every piece of tissue is, and no
action was taken. ‘Then last June, I heard that a complaint on the same subject
had been lodged against me with the General Medical Council.’
Dr Squier had to face an interim orders panel, which was set up after the conviction of Harold Shipman to protect the public and the profession from dangerous doctors. Her appearance was requested by the National Policing Improvement Agency and Detective Inspector Colin Welsh, lead investigator at Scotland Yard’s child abuse investigation command.
...............DI Welsh, in a public lecture, talked disparagingly about prosecution cases that had failed largely due to expert defence witnesses. He described a way of eliminating them from criminal and possibly family court trials, thus precluding alternative views being presented. He believed they confused the jury and possibly the judges with the complexity of science. DI Welsh’s solutions included ‘questioning everything – qualifications, employment history, testimony, research papers presented by these experts, go to their bodies to see if we can turn up anything’. ...‘It proved in my mind that the police have set out to remove me and two other neuropathologists who share the same view from the courts because we have stood in the way of their campaign to improve conviction rates. If an expert witness bases an opinion on reasonable scientific ground, even if the opinion is a minority one, it should not be excluded. ...‘The experience has made me feel like a whistleblower – on the one hand challenging all those who prefer the comfort of old mainstream opinion, and on the other struggling for my professional life.’
[2011 April] Is shaken baby syndrome a myth?