Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Met accused of 'campaign' against shaken baby witnesses

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Three leading pathologists have accused the Metropolitan Police of attempting to discredit them as expert witnesses in so-called Shaken Baby court cases. About 250 Non-Accidental Head Injury (NAHI) cases go to court every year, with the outcome often relying on a expert testimony from pathologists. The Royal College of Pathologists has called for an inquiry into the claims. Responding to the allegations, the Met said the force was "completely committed to the judicial process". The scientific debate over NAHI has grown increasingly acrimonious over the past 10 years.At first it was played out in select gatherings of pathologists before ending up in courtrooms and inquests up and down the country. That debate turned toxic, with one side accusing the other of proselytising suspect scientific theories. Now, senior consultant pathologists have accused the Metropolitan Police and others of an orchestrated strategy to discredit them as expert witnesses for parents and carers accused of murdering their children.Dr Waney Squier, Dr Irene Scheimberg and Dr Marta Cohen say their evidence is based on a speech made by Detective Inspector Colin Welsh, a lead investigator with the Met's Child Abuse Investigation Command.