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Courts: Disclosure in Expert Evidence

Volume 689: debated on Tuesday 20 February 2007

The General Medical Council has started a hearing into allegations of professional misconduct by Professor David Southall, a consultant paediatrician. It is said that he kept so-called “special case” files containing original medical records relating to his patients that were not also kept on the child's proper hospital file. Concerns have been raised that in some of those cases criminal proceedings may have been taken but the existence of the files not revealed, resulting in their not being disclosed as part of the prosecution process. I share those concerns.

What is not clear at this stage is the nature and extent of the failure of disclosure, if such it be. I have therefore decided that I will conduct an assessment of the cases where Professor Southall was instructed as a prosecution witness to determine whether any “special case” files existed in any cases involving criminal proceedings. Once that assessment has been completed, I will decide what, if any, further review is required.