Charge of Attempted Murder of an Infant by a Gynaecologist Dismissed
Lancet. 1983 Oct 1; 2(8353): 804-805.
Legal charges were dismissed on 15 September 1983 in the case of Anthony Hamilton, a British gynecologist charged with attempted murder for inducing an abortion that resulted in the delivery and survival of an infant of some 33 weeks' gestation. Hamilton had believed the pregnancy to be of about 23 weeks' duration. The incident, which occurred in September 1982, was reported to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) by a member of Life, an anti-abortion lobbying group which has also been urging hospital staff to report doctors who withhold treatment from live-born babies. Brahams describes the Hamilton case and briefly considers legal reasons why, despite weak evidence, the DPP chose to prosecute it under the Criminal Attempts Act 1981. (KIE abstract)