BMA accused of contempt of court
- By: Linda Beecham
Mr Justice Forbes, the judge who presided over the case of Dr Harold Shipman, the English GP who was recently found guilty of murdering 15 of his patients, has criticised the BMA for “flagrant” contempt, which could have halted the trial. He has referred the matter to the attorney general.
The BMA had prepared a background briefing paper for circulation before the verdict to a small number of people who would be asked to do interviews in the event of Dr Shipman being found guilty on all charges.
The association had intended to circulate the paper, after the verdict, to a wider range of BMA spokespeople and members of the General Practitioners Committee. It was released to the wider group in error.
The judge said that he was concerned that the information could have reached the jury. “I accept that there was no intention to prejudice the trial,” he said.