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Evidence Based Evidence - moving away from witch finding

The link is to an article in the Sunday Times about the unreliability of expert evidence. There does seem to be little concern in the legal profession about the reliability of opinion offered in court.

That essentially is much like the witching courts where the witch finder says "she's a witch" and then the state dunks her. The similarity goes as far as the amounts of money made by various expert witch finders.

When you put that together with manufactured "evidence" and phony letters in the Famliy Division where there is little if any accountability and you have a recipe for disaster.

Disaster is indeed what we have got.

I have written to the LCJ suggesting how we could act to improve the quality control on expert evidence. The difficulty of course is that many of the experts sincerely believe what they are saying is true. It just so happens to be false. The outcome for the expert is more money in the bank. The outcome for the other parties to the case is often massive damage to their quality of life (prison, removal of children etc).

If you doubt my arguments consider the case of Rachel Pullen who was incapable of instructing a solicitor. Who said this? An expert paid by the Local Authority.

This expert is subject to the voluntary regulation of the BPS and is not statutorily accountable. Without the parliamentary petition on this issue it could not have been discussed in public.

I rest my case.


moira said…
Without a parliamentary petition it could not be discussed."

Why is this,due to being in the family courts?

There are no doubt some unprofessional quacks who will give SS what they want to get a handsome sum. As SS tend to choose the experts then if they want to destroy a famly,they will choose one that has no compunction in delivering a negative assessment.

Experts read the social work statements,and this should not be allowed as their reports frequently distort the truth.So called experts can gage from this what SS want.

Social workers tried to get an expert that was extremely unprofessional and got everything wrong previously in my care proceedings.Luckily he had a long waiting list and the guardian picked someone who happened to be honest.Result child home.I would have hate to have seen the result if I had seen the one that had been intended for me.

We need to see how often the LA are using the same experts in which areas to get the results the LA want.
gill1109 said…
I'd like to draw attention to cases like these in the Netherlands where the authorities are still in a state of denial, and the media even hardly believes what is going on.

Have you heard of the Englishman Kevin Sweeney? (bogus fire evidence from a cretin of a state fire expert)

Lucia de Berk? (a witchhunt triggered by medical bungling; and even still, the medical world remains silent)

These are two tips of a little iceberg in the Netherlands. A log jam of screwed up cases which the system refuses to admit exists. Lucia de Berk is probably the first log of the log jam which is about to break loose, but this is still not sure.

Nothing helps the Dutch authorities better than having foreigners peep inside their cosy back rooms. Journalists: please come and take a look and write all about it... Tell the world. Englanders: if you want to help Kevin Sweeney, try doing something about Lucia de Berk (thereby you'll help about 50 others, too)
john said…
My main problem is one of time management. I need first to ensure that all my constituency responsiblities are fulfilled. After that I can look at other things.

The problem with looking at miscarriage of justice cases is that you need to identify clearly something that is clearly wrong that takes access to source materials and the time to reaed them.
gill1109 said…
"that takes access to source materials and the time to reaed them". Exactly. And in these cases, the material which is (initially) in the public domainis usually pro prosecution, and severely biased. Often the media too has been used by the prosecution to blacken the reputation of the accused so that even if the evidence seems thin, "everyone knows" it was a really bad guy. Finally - in the Dutch cases at least - it is almost unbelievable what actually happened, so that ordinary decent people, reading Kevin Sweeney's website or Lucia de Berk's, say - "this is emotional and exaggerated and can't possibly be true". While in fact, those web site builders were trying to down-play things so as to come across as neutral, calm, factual as possible. "Unbelievable" doesn't mean not true.

Richard Gill (prof. math. statistics, member of Dutch academy of sciences...)

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