Don’t Go Elephant Hunting With Michael Mansfield…

…he can’t seem to hit one even when it’s in the room with him:

The UK is one of the few major nations not to have a national forensic science institute and, in the wake of government market-based policy, no longer has a national forensic science service. The main repercussion of these deficiencies is fragmentation and creeping deregulation. Unless standards are unified, certified and monitored, unprofessional practices arise as do unprofessional practitioners.

This is, of course, a reference to one in particular:

A recent series of events exemplify the urgent need for re-appraisal. This month Dr Freddy Patel, a pathologist who had provided the initial opinion following the death of Ian Tomlinson in the 2009 G20 protest, was stuck (sic) off by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service. The panel found that he had an arrogant mindset that generated an unwarranted confidence in his own ability.

Gosh, he must have stood out in a crowd of medical personnel…

If this were an exceptional aberration by a novice that slipped through the net it would be serious enough, but the malaise runs much deeper. Patel had been qualified for 35 years. Significant concerns about him had been voiced before 2009. These had seen him removed from the Metropolitan police panel of pathologists offered contracts in 2004. The following year other complaints were presented to the GMC. After 2006 it was a prerequisite to qualify for the Home Office register that the practitioner be part of a group practice of pathologists. Patel concealed the fact that he was not part of a group from the National Policing Improvement Agency.

Terrible! If only he didn’t work for such a trusting bunch of people, unfamiliar with the concept of suspicion and investigation!

Somewhere along the line someone is not applying strict scrutiny.

Ya think?

A pathologist told BBC News on 23 August that it was well known among some of the profession that Patel had been routinely giving the cause of death as natural causes when this cannot have been the case.

That being so, why wasn’t he rumbled sooner?

Well, it’s because…errr, well….

It must be those Tories, right? And those vicious cuts to public services!

It could be regarded as the understatement of the century to wonder where quality control of evidential sources has gone. This has immediate ramifications for the overall integrity of our system of justice and should ring alarm bells in all quarters. The whole sullied picture is exacerbated by the iniquitous cuts in public funding which have already hit forensic science resources but are also impacting upon the quality and numbers of personnel who are willing to engage in the system at all levels.

If market forces are to be the determinative factor in the quest for truth then, just like most economies, we will be heading for irretrievable meltdown. Justice is not a business enterprise, still less a commodity. It is “truth in action”.

It couldn’t possibly have been the surname, could it? And the desperate need for diversity?

Nah. Perish the thought.

10 comments for “Don’t Go Elephant Hunting With Michael Mansfield…

  1. September 1, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    This post diverts from the matter in hand to a widespread problem with government policy, but by direct link.

    Nearly every aspect of JuliaM’s quoting and comment is fine with me. But this bit of quotation is not: “After 2006 it was a prerequisite to qualify for the Home Office register that the practitioner be part of a group practice of pathologists.”

    This is actually a government decision to favour corporations over sole traders.

    Though there is a cost to government associated with every agency that government contracts to, or seriously considers contracting to, this can be accommodated (to balance government costs) by price differentials.

    Even worse (IMHO) than this not actually happening, there is no balanced consideration given (on government costs) between contracting to larger versus smaller corporations. Government just has a view that large contractors are better and that sole traders and small contractors are worse. This is irrespective of the size of the contract or its geographic localisation.

    Given that now such a large proportion of the country’s economy is managed by government (directly or through monopoly or near-monopoly contractors), this is actually a problem: not just a problem for sole traders but a problem for the economy of the whole nation. Government, by such action, stifles innovation by individuals. And where else does innovation originate but with individuals.

    If central government did less, and local government did more, this would help the situation.

    If local government did less, and individual citizens did more, that would also help.

    It is also true that it would be better if international agencies did less, and national governments had more to do themselves, or pass down the chain through local government and to individual citizens.

    Government, by monopolising more of the economy than it should, kills off innovation. Eventually, the cost reductions through ‘administrative efficiency’ kill the golden goose of innovation and originality.

    Why do you think the first world is now stagnating?

    Best regards

  2. September 1, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Nigel Sedgwick said: “If central government did less, and local government did more, this would help the situation.

    If local government did less, and individual citizens did more, that would also help.”

    I agree there, it is the over involvement of government in the economy that is causing many of the problems in the West.

    A lot of the time Government doesn’t make things better it just makes things worse.

    • Tatty
      September 1, 2012 at 6:48 pm

      If central government did less, and local government did more, this would help the situation.

      If local government did less, and individual citizens did more, that would also help.

      Operative word here being “help”.

      Which almost makes it sound as though central and local government are doing the public massive favours out of the goodness of their hearts.

      As opposed to being paid a shit load of money… that they are wasting left, right and centre (but mostly left)…and all the while demanding more for doing less.

      I’m happy to do someone else’s job so long as I receive their salary too. 😉

    • September 2, 2012 at 10:17 am

      This! 🙂

  3. Mudplugger
    September 1, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    As an outside observer in this case, it always struck me that perhaps Dr Freddy Patel was well-known by the Met Police to be very reliable in deducing a cause of death in sensitive cases which would produce the least embarrassment for the Met Police. Hence the frequency of his use in such cases.

    Maybe, to recall ‘Deep Throat’ from the Watergate era, someone should “Follow The Money” …….?

    • September 2, 2012 at 10:16 am

      Maybe, but see my reply below.

  4. September 2, 2012 at 8:36 am

    an arrogant mindset that generated an unwarranted confidence in his own ability.

    Gosh, he must have stood out in a crowd of medical personnel…

    🙂

  5. Greg Tingey
    September 2, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Patel was a very handy front-man for the shadier sections of MetPlod & others, when they wanted a quick cover-up of a (shall we say) inconvenient death.
    So, he was almost certainly protected, until he finally was publicly rumbled, and then it all falls down in a heap, Patel gets blamed, and officialdom’s hands are clean.
    How convenient, how nice.

    • September 2, 2012 at 10:15 am

      Possibly, possibly. But why reach for conspiracy theory, when plain old bumbling or pandering will explain just as well?

  6. Greg Tingey
    September 2, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Not QUITE a conspiracy theory ….
    In the way that MetPlod’s incompetence & lies over the death of Menezes’ wasn’t a conspiracy – just convenioent for a while.
    Not that it did their image any good, you understand.

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