In a recent post on Dr. Colin Manock - the self-styled forensic 'expert' who was not qualified to do death investigations and was responsible for Henry Keogh's wrongful conviction, and who knows how many others, I raised the question 'what kind of man would allow himself to play such a destructive, harmful role in his state's criminal justice system?' The post can be accessed at:
The post was based upon a two part documentary report by Graham Archer on 'todaytonight Adelaide' which appeared on March 21, 2016 which I noted goes a long way to answering this fundamental question. (Part One takes us to the tiny opal mining South Australian settlement of Mintabie in 1978 where Manock performs an outdoor autopsy on an aboriginal man - even though private, in-door cool-room facilities are available, In the words of reporter Graham Archer: "His plan is to demonstrate his mortuary skills before the entire community. Miners, Aboriginal people, women and perhaps even children congregate around in stunned belief. He then goes to work on the body of the deceased - someone's father - someone's brother - someone's son." Mulla Sumner, an Aboriginal elder interjects: "Well, my sort of response to that, and what I can see is that he gutted this bloke in public, he gutted him took out his insides. Graham Archer responds: "That's what happens in autopsies. The skull is cut open, the brain removed as are the organs of the body. The bystanders, especially the Aboriginal people, must have been horrified at this indignity - the desecration of the poor man in public.") Following through on this "what kind of man theme, I am beginning a series in which I will republish posts published over the past seven years which shed light on the same question, when posed with respect to another forensic fraud who destroyed the lives of innocent people through the perverse role he played in the criminal justice system - who, in a public inquiry admitted his lack of qualifications to determine crucial matters such as the cause of death - disgraced pathologist Charles Randal Smith, the namesake of this Blog. Todays focus: What kind of man who makes decisions within the criminal justice system that can cause individuals to be charged with the most serious offences would attempt to escape responsibility for terrible miscarriages of justice by claiming that he was merely a 'pawn' as in a chess game?
Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;
Thursday, February 28, 2008
"Big Game" Part Two: A Mere Pawn?
If Dr. Charles Smith regarded himself as a player in a "big game" the next question becomes, well, what position was he playing?
Smith's answer to a question posed by Commission Counsel Linda Rothstein was, "I kind of felt like a pawn in a chess game."
Wikipedia defines a pawn as, "the weakest and most numerous piece in the game of chess, representing infantry, or more particularly armed peasants or pikemen."
Dr. Smith, who's penchant for being unable to accept responsibility for his actions and to point his finger at others, is portraying himself as a mere piece on the board who is controlled by more powerful players.
I personally find this hard to swallow for several reasons;
First, as previously noted, after Dr. M.J. Phillips, his superior in the Pathology Department at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto came up with the idea of establishing a forensic pediatric pathology unit at the hospital, it was Dr. Smith who actually got the paper work in place and got the unit off the ground. (See earlier posting: "The rise of Dr. Charles Smith: Two basic questions; Feb. 11, 2008);
This would have involved budgeting, planning, coordination and knowledge of the workings of the hospital and of government;
It was not what you would have expected from a mere pawn.
Secondly, Dr. Smith oozed a sense of his own power;
This was extremely evident to me when I interviewed him for a story on several complaints that had been made against him to the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons;
"Dr. Smith also told the Star that he found it ironic that while he was being pilloried at home, "Here at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences people are coming up to me getting my opinion on cases because they view me as one of the world's experts," the story said.
Lastly, unlike helpless pawns on the board, Dr. Smith was well-connected.
Indeed, he boasts in a note to former chief coroner Dr. James Young, that he is supported by the province's Solicitor General of the day - and he had an open door to Dr. Young and other senior officials in the Chief Coroner's office.
Mere pawns don't consort with kings.
Dr. Smith would not agree with lawyer Peter Wardle's suggestion that, "(if) there was a game and if you were a player, you certainly were not a pawn, Dr. Smith. You were one of the most important pieces on the board."
"That's your view. That's -- that has never been my view. And at this point in time, I don't know how I could -- how I could reconsider, but certainly, at the time that this occurred and on previous occasions, your view and mine of my role are -- are not synoptic," he replied.