PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Guilty plea series: Part 3; Brenda Waudby: (Finally exonerated thanks to the able legal assistance of lawyer Julie Kirkpatrick. HL) The Innocence Project has demonstrated a compelling need to expose the disturbing number of convictions in America attributed to guilty pleas rendered by innocent people in America. However, the problem of false guilty pleas is is common to many other jurisdictions, including Ontario, where I reside. I would like to make my own contribution to the Innocence Project's campaign, by running a series of posts taken from this Blog and elsewhere, which vividly illustrates the point. (Many of the posts were based on reports by my friend and colleague the late Tracey Tyler. the Toronto Star's talented legal affairs reporter for many years, until her untimely death. She had no patience for miscarriages of justice.) A common factor in many of the cases in this series is the presence of former doctor Charles Smith, the namesake of this Blog. In each case, the defence lawyer recommended a guilty plea to a lesser offence in order to avoid the ramifications of a conviction on the more serious charge - almost guaranteed by the now notorious former doctor's involvement in the case - in spite of the client's protests of innocence.
Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Brenda Waudby (4): Justice Fuerst unexpectedly orders her name to be struck from Ontario's Child Abuse List (The mark of a fine judge. (HL));
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.
See the Toronto Star report on Brenda Waudby's exoneration - the overturning of her guilty plea to child abuse - at the link below: (Brenda Waudby officially innocent of child abuse: A miscarriage of justice that left the grieving mother of a murdered baby wrongfully convicted of child abuse 13 years ago was finally rectified in a Peterborough courtroom Wednesday.)..."The police charged Waudby with murder and now-discredited pathologist Charles Smith declared there was evidence of chronic abuse, prior to injuries that killed Mellor. That evidence was later found to be completely false by two other pathologists. But fearing losing custody of her two other children, Waudby had already pled guilty to the lesser charge of child abuse, putting her on the provincial registry. It was part of a plea deal in exchange, she thought, for lifting the murder charge. The Crown maintains that no such plea deal took place, but accepted Waudby’s explanation for why she pleaded guilty. The child abuse label stuck even after Mellor’s then-14-year-old babysitter confessed to beating and sexually abusing the baby to an undercover police officer in 2005. The man, whose name is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act since he was a minor at the time of the crime, was convicted of manslaughter and served 22 months in prison. The details of the confession were not shared with Waudby by the Crown attorney in the original case. And making matters worse, a typo in the court transcript of the babysitter’s confession wrongly said the force of his blows to Jenna’s body “wouldn’t have” have broken her ribs. In fact, when Waudby’s lawyer Julie Kirkpatrick heard a tape of the confession, he said they “would” have. That error in court record has been fixed. And now so has a much greater one. Waudby should have been treated as a victim not a perpetrator, said Fuerst. The wrongful conviction meant years of isolation, depression and public humiliation for Waudby, with even her eldest daughter doubting her innocence at one point, Fuerst said."
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. 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: http://www.thestar.com/topic/