The General Medical Council delivered its ultimate sanction against the former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health who has an international reputation for his work on child protection, despite hearing evidence that his research had saved many children's lives.
At the end of the three-week hearing, a fitness-to- practise panel of the GMC found Sir Roy, 72, guilty of serious professional misconduct for making "grave errors" in the presentation of statistical evidence in the case that had "serious repercussions" and which "constituted a serious departure from the standard expected of a registered medical practitioner".
The chair of the GMC panel, Mary Clark-Glass, told him: "You are an eminent paediatrician whose reputation was renowned ... and so your authority carried a unique responsibility to take meticulous care in a case of this grave nature."
The panel concluded that to preserve public confidence in the profession it was necessary to remove the professor's name from the register. The decision is more symbolic than practical as Sir Roy has been retired since 1998 but it means his illustrious career is ending in ignominy.
The GMC decision follows the overturning of the convictions against Sally Clark, who was freed on her second appeal in 2003, Angela Cannings and Donna Anthony, and led to the biggest review of child protection cases in legal history.
Sir Roy had told the Clark trial that the chances of two natural cot deaths in the same family was one in 73 million. But the GMC panel heard that a first cot death in a family made a second more likely and that the figure was grossly inflated.
The panel accepted that Sir Roy had not intended to mislead the jury in the Clark trial butMrs Clark-Glass said: "Your misguided belief in the truth of your arguments, maintained ... throughout this inquiry, is disturbing and serious." She said his use of statistics "may have seriously under-mined the authority of doctors giving expert evidence".
Sally Clark's family welcomed the decision but condemned Sir Roy for his failure to apologise to "any of the families for the dreadful damage he has caused to us".
Donna Anthony, who was freed in April after serving six years, said: "The medical world has lost a fine paediatrician. All he needed to say was, 'I got it wrong'. I never wanted any of this. All I wanted was an apology."Reuse content