Anorak News | Wilde Accusations

Wilde Accusations

by | 20th, January 2004

”TO lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune,’ wrote Oscar Wilde in The Importance Of Being Earnest. ‘To lose both looks like carelessness.’

‘Who has been trying to kill you?’ ‘Mama’

But little can he have expected that just over a century later, a variation on this principle would have resulted in more than 250 parents being convicted of killing their children.

For the now discredited Professor Roy Meadow approach to cot death is not much more than an extension of an Oscar Wilde aphorism.

To lose one baby may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness; to lose three is murder.

The Telegraph hears the Court of Appeal yesterday suggest that the authorities should stop prosecuting parents when expert defence testimony pointed to the possibility of cot death.

As the brilliantly named Lord Justice Judge pointed out, medical science is still at the frontiers of knowledge concerning Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and in many cases the experts have no idea why a baby died.

‘Yet for many years,’ it says, ‘experts paid by the prosecution have expounded their pet theories in the witness box, leading juries to believe that they are explaining proven science.’

As Oscar Wilde also said, ‘the pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple’.’

Posted: 20th, January 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink