Maria Shepherd to reporters following her acquittal:"I'm not sure what was going on in Mr. Smith's head. There must be something extremely troubling for someone not to do it once or twice. We're taling about a dozen people at least that he has done this to. I forgive Charles Smith because it is going to be less of a weight and my family and I can carry on. However, I think I there has to be a deeper look at accountability not only from Smith but from his superiors as well."
"A woman convicted of killing her stepdaughter 25 years ago has had the conviction overturned by the Ontario Court of Appeal. “I’m finally acquitted and I’m free — and I can be a mom to my kids without this hanging over my head. I’m extremely grateful,” said an emotional Maria Shepherd outside court Monday, as her husband, four children and supporters stood behind her on the steps of Osgoode Hall..........The conviction was overturned this morning by Justices David Watt, Gladys Pardu and Peter Lauwers. Shepherd was 21, pregnant and facing serious jail time when her lawyer told her she stood little chance of acquittal. Under enormous pressure, Shepherd pleaded guilty to manslaughter, a calculated move made to limit the impact on her children, but which came at the expense of the truth. She did not know that nearly two decades later, an unprecedented review of Smith’s work would reveal the pathologist made egregious errors in 20 child death cases, including Kasandra’s. In 2009, the Ontario Court of Appeal allowed Shepherd, now 46, to appeal her conviction and ask the court for an acquittal. In court documents filed earlier this month, the Attorney General agreed the conviction should be quashed “in the interest of justice.” The evidence from Smith “was fundamentally flawed,” wrote Howard Leibovich, counsel for the Attorney General of Ontario. New evidence from forensic experts establishes Kasandra may have died of natural causes, and that her death should have been classified as “undetermined.” One expert called Smith’s theory that Shepherd killed Kasandra with a blow to the head so hard it left an impression from her watch “complete nonsense.” Another called it “pseudoscience.” “I hope that the world can now know,” Shepherd wrote in an affidavit to court, “that I did not assault or abuse Kasandra and did not cause her death.”