Monday, December 22, 2008


I felt a sense of deja vue when I read Chief Constable Sean Price's unabashed defence of his police force; We just did our job; it was the prosecutor's job to pursue the case; The Appeal Court set things straight; The system worked as it should have... yada yada yada and so forth;

Here is what I would have preferred to hear Chief Constable Price say:

"Let me begin by extending my personal apology - and that of the police force I head - to Ms. Holdsworth. The spectre of a miscarriage of justice is an anathema to any professional police force. It is anathema to us. We deeply regret the loss of freedom, damage to reputation, and horrific tension and anxiety that Ms. Holdsworth has been exposed to as a result of our inadequate investigation; If there is any consolation for her, it is that this police force plans to learn as much as we can from her bitter experience. For a start, we have learned that the death's of infants are extremely different physiologically from those of adults and must be approached by police and coroners in a very different way. We made a very serious error when we abandoned our traditional investigative approach -which should have involved intensive examination at the scene for DNA and other forensic evidence - because of our reliance on "experts." In short, we passed the buck to them - and the result is there for all to see. Without minimizing our failings, I think it is imperative that all actors in our criminal justice system - and that includes prosecutors, defence lawyer's and judges, be made aware through education of the very special attributes of these cases - and the importance of obtaining well-grounded, unbiased, medical opinions to assist the court. Ms. Holdsworth's case should have been screened by a committee of specially trained prosecutors before a charge was laid. Opinions should have been obtained from a balance spectrum of appropriately experienced specialists; The judge should have been required to warn the jurors of the danger of attaching too much weight to the expert opinion testimony - as opposed to considering the real, tangible - or lack of tangible evidence in the case. Not surprisingly, there have been calls for a public inquiry. I personally would welcome such a hearing as an opportunity for all of us to learn from our mistakes - and not merely to hide from them, or from the spectre of a civil lawsuit. We will certainly hold our own inquest into our investigation and make the results known to the public because we want to restore public confidence in our force; Yes, we did our job. But we did not do it well enough, and not nearly in the professional way that the public, including Ms. Holdsworth, demands and deserves. Ms. Holdsworth I do hope you will agree to talk with us - and help our educational process. Once again. We are sorry Ms. Holdsworth. Deeply sorry, and committed to doing a far better professional job. Thank you very much;