Bar Bulletin

Bar Bulletin

Mathematical Mistakes Equal Miscarriage of Justice

October 2019 Bar Bulletin

By Daniel Knapp


With conflicting testimony from nine medical professionals, the evidence in the British R. v. Clark trial in 2003 was ultimately overshadowed by one number: 1 in 73 million. Amidst the inconsistent and hopelessly technical shower of jargon, jurors would latch on to this number, convicting mother Sally Clark of two counts of murder for allegedly killing her two sons, both only several weeks old at the time of their demise.1

Had the number been a lantern lighting the way for the jury through the quagmire of perplexing evidence, all would have been well. However, far from being a lantern, 1 in 73 million was...

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