Post by Helen Post by The Todal
I think you're nearly there.
He took a statistic from the report and quoted it.
He did not do that. Please read the relevent material.
Okay, since you can't be bothered to quote material to support your view,
here is the material. He took a statistic from the report and quoted it (he
did not make up the statistic himself) without explaining that the statistic
was unreliable because of the methodology used. The methodology was obvious
from the context and the lawyers were amply qualified, with the assistance
of their own expert, to explain the flaws to the jury.
The likelihood of SIDS varies with social circumstances. The most recent
estimation of the incidence in England is that for a family in which the
parents do not smoke, in which at least one has a waged income and in which
the mother is over the age of 26 years, the risk is 1:8,543 live births.
[the three prenatal factors referred to in paragraph 112 above]
Thus the chances of two infant deaths within such a family being SIDS is
That calculation comes from the CESDI Study.
We have seen that the genesis of the 1:73 million figure was the CESDI
Study, and not any individual calculation made by Professor Meadow. The
grace note was that this would occur "... once in a hundred years". This
evidence was given by Professor Meadow in examination in chief on the sixth
day of the Crown evidence. While the "100 years" answer was new to the case,
it was a straight mathematical calculation to anyone who knew that the
birthrate over England, Scotland and Wales was approximately 700,000 a year.
Mr Bevan submits that this answer must have greatly affected the jury. He
suggested that its impact would have been "overwhelming". But he did not
suggest the effect was such that the judge should have discharged the jury,
and he did not so apply. Nor did the defence invite the judge to direct the
jury to ignore the evidence relating to Table 3.58 of the Study, nor to give
any special direction in relation to it.
In our judgment, however, Professor Meadow's opinion was based on his expert
assessment of the medical and circumstantial evidence, not on the
statistical material. Most of his examination in chief was concerned with
the medical issues. He nowhere suggests that Table 3.58 (which did not deal
with deaths such as these) provides any evidence that these deaths were
unnatural, only that true SIDS were rare. No-one would know better than
Professor Meadow that the important evidence as to whether these deaths were
unnatural lay in the physical finding port-mortem, in the account of the
last hours of the infants, and in the evidence and credibility of the
parents - it certainly did not lie in the statistics. And it is clear from
reading his evidence that his conclusion was firmly based on that medical
and circumstantial evidence, as one would expect.