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‘Discoverer’ of shaken baby syndrome expresses concern over flawed evidence

Open letter links SBS claims with miscarriages of justice

The paediatric neurosurgeon Dr Norman Guthkelch, whose work 40 years ago was one of the most important early pieces of research that tended to connect head injuries in young children to violence, has signed an open letter expressing concerns over links between claims of shaken baby syndrome (SBS) and miscarriages of justice.

Dr Guthkelch is one of 35 signatories of a letter which states that it can be shown in many instances that the evidence of the prosecution experts alleging death or serious injury from SBS is demonstrably flawed. It continues that the scientific basis for the assertion that these injuries are the consequence of deliberately inflicted violent shaking is highly contentious. 

Dr Guthkelch is quoted as saying: "We've assumed the cause of shaken baby syndrome on the basis of a few cases." He considers that the sample size of his original observations was too small to support the generalised conclusions that are being made in SBS allegations.

In 2011 he endorsed research done by Dr Evan Mathses which he described as "a most important contribution to understanding" of SBS. For details of that research, click here.

The open letter is here.

For an article by David Bedingfield of 4 Paper Buildings which charts the recent history of scientific research into serious non-accidental head injuries suffered by babies and the response of the family and criminal courts in England and Wales, please click here.

24/2/15