March 2010: The Public Ministry asks for non-guilty! =============================
"The case of Lucia de Berk (life imprisonment in the Netherlands for 7 alleged murders and 3 alleged attempts) must be reopened as soon as possible."
"De zaak Lucia de B. moet zo spoedig mogelijk worden heropend".
By signing, you are agreeing with the petition sponsor that the conviction is "unsafe" -- guilt was not established beyond reasonable doubt. You are welcome to your personal or your scientific opinion concerning guilt or innocence, but that is another matter.
In November 2007, after the report of the three wise men, we submitted the "half-time" list of signees to Mr. Ernst Hirsch Ballin, Dutch Minister of Justice, and in December had it published in newspaper "NRC-Handelsblad". Since still no decision has been taken to reopen the case, the petition remains open, and will be published in the media again.
Please add your profession in the comments field, if at all relevant to the case. Some of the first signees forget to do this. Signees 1 and 2 are professors of Mathematical Statistics, signee 4 is a professor of Medical Statistics.
We started collecting signatures on June 17, 2007. The three wise men of committee Posthumus II, who had been studying the case for nearly a year, seemed to have difficulties coming to a conclusion and took their summer holidays before making their recommendation.
At that time, the petition sponsor found this incomprehensible, both from a human and from a scientific point of view. However, always optimistic, he trusted that The Three Wise Men had indeed become convinced that there was a miscarriage of justice: the conviction was unsafe, since there is no proof "beyond reasonable doubt" that any crimes were committed at all, let alone by whom. The Three Wise Men would then still have their work cut out, to make their recommendation to the Public Prosecution Service (and from there to the Supreme Court) as water-tight as possible.
With this petition he hoped to support a correct recommendation by the committee, which he saw as inevitable.
Richard Gill (Leiden University)
Richard Gill is professor of Mathematical Statistics at the University of Leiden, member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, and President of the Dutch Statistical Society. He collaborates on this case intensively with the Committee Lucia de B (psychiatric doctor Metta de Noo, philosopher of science Ton Derksen) and with many colleagues (in particular, statisticans Peter Grunwald and Piet Groeneboom). His scientific opinion concerning the accusation brought against Mrs Lucia de Berk, is that no murders or murder attemtps were actually committed by anybody. She simply experienced a run of bad luck which together with malicious and persistent gossip about her past catalysed a panic reaction at her hospital - with disastrous consequences for all concerned. Possibly 1 in25 Dutch nurses would experience, in similar circumstances, a similar concentration of "incidents" on their shifts, as Lucia did at two hospitals in the Hague. Fortunately for the Dutch tax-payer, almost all of the "incredible coincidences" simply go unnoticed, or are immediately taken just for what they are - a bit of bad luck.
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Homepage of the petition sponsor: http://www.math.leidenuniv.nl/~gill Site of "Committee Lucia de B" (Metta de Noo and Ton Derksen): http://www.luciadeb.nl The site is mainly in Dutch, but has links to an English translation of much of the site and of key documents on the case. Dutch and English wikipedia: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucia_de_B http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucia_de_Berk Peter Grunwald's homepage: http://homepages.cwi.nl/~pdg/ Piet Groeneboom's blog (Dutch and English versions): http://pietg.wordpress.com/2007/05/31/lucia-de-berk-en-de-amateur-statistici-in-dutch/ http://pietg.wordpress.com/2007/05/28/lucia-de-berk-and-the-amateur-statisticians/ 29 October 2007: the report of the three wise men, and accompanying press release of the Public Ministry can be found at www.om.nl, as well as on Richard Gill's site and www.luciadeb.nl
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