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Walmsley and Hughes welcome overhaul of procedures in 'shaken baby' cases

February 15, 2006 12:00 AM

Responding to the Attorney General's statement on the outcome of the shaken baby syndrome cases review, Simon Hughes MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Attorney General, said:

"It is welcome that from today the old presumptions have been replaced and the old procedures overhauled. After the Angela Cannings, Sally Clark and Tripti Patel cases, the priority is to restore public confidence in the criminal justice system.

"The three cases identified as having questionable convictions are best now dealt with by reference back to the Court of Appeal or the Criminal Cases Review Commission. It must also be clear that those convicted in the other 85 cases must be able seek a review of their conviction irrespective of today's conclusions.

"The new guidance for expert witnesses, the Crown Prosecution Service and the police is further welcome progress. To maintain public confidence future investigations must be particularly rigorous, detailed and careful.

"All those involved in the 88 cases must be satisfied that the review has examined all the evidence from the very beginning to the very end, without restriction or presumption."

Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson in the House of Lords, Baroness Walmsley, said:

"I welcome the agreement of the Attorney General that expert witnesses should not be prejudiced towards one side of the other. Courts should come to their conclusion purely on the basis of evidence.

"It is vital that the legal system delivers justice for parents, but never denies justice to children."