Sally Clark

Sally Clark 1964-2007

Sally Clark
Judgement of the Court of Appeal 29.1.2003

R v Sally Clark

We are satisfied that the trial of this appellant was not a fair trial in that the jury were deprived of the opportunity of hearing and considering medical evidence that may have influenced their decision. This resulted from the failure of the pathologist to share with other doctors investigating the cause of death information that a competent pathologist ought to have appreciated needed to be assessed before any conclusion was reached. The Court of Appeal on the previous occasion reached their conclusions wholly unaware of this aspect of the matter. We have no doubt that the resulting convictions are, therefore, unsafe and must be quashed. We will give our detailed reasons in writing at a later date.

Normally we would have gone on to consider whether these very important matters should be re-tried. One of the paramount issues for us to decide in this respect would have been whether there could now be a fair hearing having regard to the previous history. With commendable good sense, the prosecution have themselves decided that no such re-trial can take place. That is principally because the failure to share information with other doctors meant that a number of important further tests which other doctors would have felt necessary were not carried out and can no longer be carried out. Thus, in what is on any view a very difficult case medically, the court would be deprived of the further evidence that might have been forthcoming from such tests. The other factor considered by the Crown is the extent of the publicity given to this case. Thus we do not have to consider the question of a re-trial and for the reasons which we will, as indicated, give in detail later, we allow the appeal and quash the convictions.

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