A case of murder and the BMJ

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7345.1096 (Published 04 May 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1096

Personal paper is anything but balanced interpretation

  1. Mary B Pillai, consultant gynaecologist (mary@mpillai.fsnet.co.uk)
  1. Cheltenham General Hospital, Cheltenham GL53 7AN
  2. Department of Medical Genetics, Alberta Children's Hospital, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2T 5C7

    EDITOR—Meadow has sought to overcome criticism of the misapplied statistics in the trial of Sally Clark by his own version of the evidence.1 He has missed the point. His belief in her guilt does not justify misplaced evidence. Watkins addressed the issue of presenting statistical evidence fairly.2

    He concluded that doctors should not use techniques without acquainting themselves with the principles underlying them. Meadow blames biased media reporting while advancing his own interpretation of the prosecution evidence in a manner that leaves little room for doubt. Yet such a strong bid to minimise the influence flawed statistics may have had betrays certainty in a field where there should be considerable room for doubt. I do not know the details of the case, but the mere fact that many medical witnesses were called by both the prosecution and the defence indicates the evidence was not clear cut. Unless Meadow …

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