Sunday, July 25, 2010


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am pleased to nominate New Yorker staff writer David Grann for the Charles Smith Blog Award for his awesome exposee of the faulty arson "science" that resulted in the wrongful conviction and execution in Texas of Cameron Todd Willingham. (Photo: David Grann);

I established this award in 2009 to honour authors anywhere in the world who have done outstanding work in exposing a miscarriage of justice involving flawed pathology, flawed pathologists, or a combination of both.

I previously noted on this site that Grann's story on the Cameron Todd Willingham case - "trial by Fire" - has already had a huge impact on the death penalty in the U.S.A - as well as puncturing the myth that Texas has never executed an innocent man.

As a fellow journalist, I was naturally interested in the background of the man behind the story.

We get some sense of who he is from from the Web-site for the award set up in honour of the late Michael Kelly who was Editor and Chief Editorial Advisor for the Atlantic Media Company.

David Grann is described as a 2009 finalist for the award which goes to a writer who exemplifies a quality that animated Michael Kelly's career, "The fearless pursuit and expression of truth."

Before joining The New Yorker, Grann was a senior editor at The New Republic and, from 1995 to 1996, the executive editor of the newspaper The Hill. He holds master’s degrees in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy and in creative writing from Boston University.

Previous honourees are:

0: Kevin Morgan (AUSTRALIA): author of "Gun Alley: Murder, Lies and Failure of Justice, who single-handedly fought for and obtained the forensic materials which led to Colin Ross's pardon almost ninety years after he was executed.

0: Michael Hall (U.S.A.): For his excellent work in Texas Monthly exposing the miscarriages of justice that have occurred as a result of scent-lineups and the "experts" who conduct them, and

0: Sun-Sentinel reporter Paula McMahon (U.S.A.) for her ground-breaking reporting over a nine year period which led to the freeing and exoneration of Anthony Caravella.

O:journalist Stewart Cockburn (AUSTRALIA) for his ground-breaking work in "The Advertiser" which exposed the miscarriage of justice suffered by Ted Splatt and triggered the Royal Commission which led to Splatt's exoneration.

0: Australian scientist Tom Mann (AUSTRALIA) for his sterling efforts to publicize the injustice perpetrated on Ted Splatt in the courts including the publication of "Flawed Forensics: The Ted Splatt case and Stewart Cockburn," a monumental book which demonstrates the tragic consequences which can unfold when science gets twisted out of proportion in the courts and those entrusted with the task of protecting our criminal justice system abdicate their responsibilities.

I welcome suggestions as to other authors who deserve to be nominated for this award for their work in exposing miscarriages of justice flawed pathology, flawed pathologists, or a combination of both at;


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 accessed at:

For a breakdown of some of the cases, issues and controversies this Blog is currently following, please turn to:

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;;