Guilty as charged? No problem, UK expert witnesses tell undercover reporters

Eight out of nine expert witnesses approached by undercover reporters agreed to give helpful reports for court, even though the reporter “clients” admitted their guilt.

The findings were broadcast in a documentary for the program Panorama broadcast on the BBC, report BBC News and the Daily Mail.

Two handwriting experts wrote reports on behalf of undercover reporters who said they had written a threatening note, but they wanted evidence that cast doubt on their authorship, the stories say. One expert said there was “strong evidence” the undercover reporter was not the author, while another said authorship was “inconclusive.”

An expert who specializes in the law protecting badgers was approached by an undercover reporter who said he needed help because he had deliberately directed his dog to pursue one of the animals and may have been recorded by a passerby with a cellphone.

“What you’ve done and what they can prove are two entirely different things,” the expert said. “Your defense is that this was a pure accident. … You were walking your dog along and the dog suddenly saw a badger and dived down a hole and all you were trying to do is get it back.” The expert’s report said the badger den was not visible to the casual observer.

A proposed law to give judges in the United Kingdom more latitude to toss suspect expert testimony was blocked by the Ministry of Justice, the stories say.

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