Doctor found guilty over murder claims3.14PM, Fri Aug 6 2004
The doctor compiled a report on the family in August 2000 after talking to social workers and police officers and said it was "beyond reasonable doubt" that Mr Clark had killed his sons
One of Britain's top paediatricians has been found guilty of serious professional misconduct for wrongly accusing a father of murdering his two sons.
Professor David Southall, 56, accused the husband of cleared solicitor Sally Clark of murdering their children after he watched a television programme about the case.
The General Medical Council's professional conduct committee, sitting in Manchester, decided the doctor was guilty of serious professional misconduct.
Prof Southall could have been struck off by the GMC but instead the body has introduced restrictions to his work.
Tribunal chairman Denis McDevitt told Prof Southall he must not engage in any aspect of child protection work either in or outside the NHS for three years.
After watching a documentary in April 2000, Prof Southall claimed Steve Clark had killed his sons Harry and Christopher.
In the programme Mr Clark described a nosebleed suffered by his first son Christopher days before he died.
The doctor compiled a report on the family in August 2000 after talking to social workers and police officers and said it was "beyond reasonable doubt" that Mr Clark had killed his sons.
After the GMC ruling, Mr Clark said in a statement: "It is a sad day when a doctor is dragged before his professional body, is found guilty of serious professional misconduct and has sanctions imposed upon him.
"As a professional myself, I take no satisfaction from it.
"However, as a father, the sole purpose of bringing my complaint, four long years ago, was to try to ensure that no other innocent parent is ever again falsely accused of harming their children.
"I hope that the committee's finding of serious professional misconduct against Professor Southall, and the imposition of conditions preventing him from working in the child protection field for three years, will send a strong message to him (and to any other, like-minded doctors) that irresponsible and reckless allegations of child abuse against innocent parents are simply not acceptable and will no longer be tolerated.
"I am also, of course, relieved that at last my complaints have been upheld and I have been fully exonerated from any blame.
Mr Clark added that there were seven more complaints of serious professional misconduct against Prof Southall.
"I hope that the parents who made these complaints receive the justice which they deserve from the GMC," he said.
Jun 11: 'Trial by TV' expert stands by murder claims
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