Double baby murder evidence 'kept secret' over children's deaths
Wednesday January 29, 2003
evidence which could have cleared solicitor Sally Clark of the murder of
her two baby sons was kept secret during her trial, the court of appeal heard
for Clark, jailed for life at Chester crown court in 1999, claimed on the
first day of her appeal that such a "material non-disclosure" of documents
constituted a "serious miscarriage of justice".
Clark, 38, was convicted of smothering 11-week-old Christopher in 1996 and shaking eight-week-old Harry to death in 1998.
her counsel, Clare Montgomery, QC, said the investigation and trial had been
skewed by the decision "deliberately" to withhold key test results. In a
written statement, Ms Montgomery said: "For nearly three years after the
death of Harry Clark, Sally Clark, her lawyers and their medical advisers
believed there was not any evidence of infection or any possible natural
explanation of his death."
court heard that at the end of 2000 it emerged for the first time that there
had been clear evidence of an infection with staphylococcus aureus that had
spread as far as the baby's cerebral spinal fluid.
evidence had apparently been known to prosecution pathologist Alan Williams
since February 1998, Ms Montgomery said. "It is now clearly appreciated by
those who are specialist in the area that this provides a very real explanation
as to how Harry met his death. It requires no degree of expertise to realise
the test results should have been revealed by Dr Williams."
Robin Spencer, QC, for the crown, said test results were not deliberately withheld.
The hearing continues today.