PUBLISHER'S NOTE: The need to have the highest standards for safeguarding, identifying and properly securing forensic evidence for trial and possible post conviction is one of the constant themes of this Blog - and was a major line of inquiry into Justice Stephen Goudge's public Inquiry into many of former pathologist Charles Smith's cases. (As Justice Goudge noted in his report: "In some of the cases examined by the Inquiry, Dr. Smith made serious errors in the preservation of autopsy materials.. He lost his notes for years at a time. In some cases he actually lost evidence, including X-Rays, tissue blocks, slides, and a cast of a child's skull.") In the trial context, because evidence forensic evidence has been 'lost, ' the prosecutor, as illustrated by this Labrador case, may be unable to proceed with the case and thereby cannot protect the public interest - and, most importantly in my view, the accused, though presumed innocent, is forced to carry the weight of the unproven allegations forever.
Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.
STORY: Office of the Chief Medical Examiner Probe sparked by dropped murder charge to begin in coming weeks," by reporter Ariana Kelland, published by CBC News on August 2, 2016.
SUB-HEADING: Evidence relating to the death of Matthew Rich lost while under care of office.
PHOTO CAPTION: "An outside medical examiner has been brought in to review the Newfoundland and Labrador Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, after key evidence was lost in an infant Labrador murder case."
GIST: "An outside medical examiner has been brought in to review the Newfoundland and Labrador Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, after key evidence was lost in an infant Labrador murder case. The province released the terms of reference for an already announced external review of the office Tuesday. Dr. Matthew Bowes, who has been the Chief Medical Examiner in Nova Scotia since 2006, has been recruited to conduct the review that was sparked by lost evidence in the Matthew Rich homicide investigation.........Rich, a four-month-old from Sheshatshiu, died on Oct. 15, 2013, after he was taken to hospital in Happy Valley-Goose Bay with a serious head injury. Almost a month later, the RCMP laid a charge of second-degree murder against the baby's father, Thomas George Michel, 24. However, that charge was withdrawn in December 2015 because a key piece of evidence — the baby's brain and dura — had gone missing while in the care of the OCME. A CBC News investigation in January revealed the evidence was likely thrown out with other medical waste. Days later, Parsons promised to launch an external review of the office, which is located at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's.........The review will look at the circumstances surrounding the Rich case as well as the OCME's infrastructure, resources, policies and procedures. (Justice Minister Andrew) Parsons said issues surrounding the condition of the office were raised prior to the Rich case. "We've always been told there were environmental concerns, operational concerns," Parsons said. "But [the Rich] case, no doubt, was a huge factor in making sure this review happened." Parsons said concerns at the OCME have always been known but the dropped murder charge was the final push for the review to take place."
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The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:
Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:
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