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From: "Bill Sloman"
Subject: Re: Defeating Breathalyzer Ignition Interlocks
Date: Sun, 5 Jan 2003 14:44:20 +0100
Organization: Planet Internet
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"John Woodgate" wrote in message
> I read in sci.electronics.design that Bill Sloman
> wrote (in <email@example.com>) about
> 'Defeating Breathalyzer Ignition Interlocks', on Sat, 4 Jan 2003:
> >John Woodgate wrote in message
> >> I read in sci.electronics.design that Bill Sloman
> >> wrote (in ) about 'Defeating Breathalyzer
> >> Ignition Interlocks', on Sat, 4 Jan 2003:
> >> >He wasn't allowed to publish his results for some reason,
> >> Could it be that there were too many drunk *pedestrians* in the results
> >> for them to be used to demonize drink-drivers?
> >This wasn't a large sample of data - I think there were some hundreds
> >of autopsys a year in Victoria on victims of road accidents, and I
> >don't think that there were all that many pedestrian victims.
> >> It's so easy to slip into the frame of mind that says, 'It doesn't
> >> matter how we manipulate the data, it's all in a good cause.'
> >Got any other unsubstantiated accusations? You've just libelled a
> >living Victorian of excellent reputation - much better than Joe
> >Gutnick's - who could even now be preparing to sue you in the
> >Victorian courts.
> No, Bill, please read my post CAREFULLY. You said that he wasn't allowed
> to publish his results. So, my critical remarks were concerned with
> **those who prevented him publishing**, not to the researcher whose
> results were suppressed.
> IMHO, the suppression of results of a properly-run scientific study
> (which you claim by inference that to be what John Birrell carried out)
> is a matter of public interest and concern.
Having re-read your original post very carefully, I think my interpretation
is legitimate. You may claim that your critical remarks were aimed at
**those who prevented him publishing** but this is anything but obvious in
the text, and for me the whole text, including the speculation about drunken
pedestrians, reads more as if you were looking for reasons which might have
justified the ban on publishing.
IIRR the ban was actually written into his contract with the Victorian
police force - in effect he'd signed the Australian equivalent of the
official secrets act, which bans civil servants from publishing without
permission, and at the time such permission was very rarely given.
Individual autopsy results were very closely guarded.
Towards the end of the sixties the wife of the Attorney General of Victoria
died the night before she was to go to court to divorce him. The Attorney
General was a man much given to pretending to favour good moral behaviour in
public, while living a thoroughly scaldalous private life, and many of us
would have been interested in the details of her autopsy. My interest was
piqued by a marked difference in the news reports I heard at 10pm that night
(when she'd died outside in her garden) and the following morning, when
she'd died in her bed.
Bill Sloman, Nijmegen
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