French CJD Trial Ends With Acquittals--More to Follow

Deputy News Editor

Wire services are carrying the news of the end of France's trial of six people accused of distributing contaminated human growth hormone, a nearly 2-decade-old case that saw science play a central role and scientists called as expert witnesses. Science will bring you more details soon. Here's the Reuters lead:

A French court on Wednesday acquitted all six defendants on trial over the distribution in the 1980s of growth hormones contaminated with the fatal Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).

The court ruled it was impossible to be certain the doctors and pharmacists on trial were aware of the risk of contamination by CJD, which was little known at the time.

The brain-wasting disease causes rapid dementia and death and most of the 117 infected victims so far have been children. The three most recent deaths occurred in 2008.

The trial began on Feb. 6 last year after a 17-year investigation. The doctors and pharmacists were facing charges of aggravated deception, manslaughter and causing unintentional injury.

Posted in Europe