Saturday, August 28, 2010


BACKGROUND: WIKIPEDIA): Michael and Lindy Chamberlain's first daughter, Azaria, was born on June 11, 1980. When Azaria was two months old, Michael and Lindy Chamberlain took their three children on a camping trip to Ayers Rock, arriving on August 16, 1980. On the night of August 17, Chamberlain reported that the child had been taken from her tent by a dingo. A massive search was organised, but all that was found were remains of some of the bloody clothes, which confirmed the death of baby Azaria. Her body has never been discovered. Although the initial coronal inquiry supported the Chamberlains' account of Azaria's disappearance, Lindy Chamberlain was later prosecuted for the murder of her child on the basis of the finding of the baby's jumpsuit and of tests that appeared to indicate the presence of blood found in the Chamberlains' car. This forensic gathering convicted her of murder on October 29, 1982, and sentenced her to life imprisonment; the theory was that she slit the child's throat and hid the body. Michael Chamberlain was convicted as an accessory to murder. Shortly after her conviction, Lindy Chamberlain gave birth to her fourth child, Kahlia, on November 17, 1982, in prison. An appeal against her conviction was rejected by the High Court in February, 1984. New evidence emerged on February 2, 1986 when a remaining item of Azaria's clothing was found partially buried near Uluru in an isolated location, adjacent to a dingo lair. This was the matinee jacket which the police had maintained for years did not exist. Five days later, Chamberlain was released. The Northern Territory Government publicly said it was because "she had suffered enough." In view of inconsistencies in the earlier blood testing which gave rise to potential reasonable doubts about the propriety of her conviction and as DNA testing was not as advanced in the early 1980s it emerged that the 'baby blood' found in her car could have been any substance, Lindy Chamberlain's life sentence was remitted by the Northern Territory Government and a Royal Commission began to investigate the matter in 1987. Chamberlain's conviction was overturned in September, 1988 and another inquest in 1995 returned an open verdict. In recent years there have been fatal dingo attacks on children, one famous instance being at the holiday resort at Fraser Island.


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: It's hard to imagine a more reasonable request than Lindy Chamberlain's bid for a new death certificate which will record the truth - that Azaria was killed by a dingo. To lose a child in those circumstances is bad enough. To be branded as her killer on the basis of ignorance, fear-mongering, faulty police investigation, erroneous expert evidence and a wanting court process, makes matters all the worse. This is compounded by an oppressive prosecution in which Lindy Chamberlain did not have the opportunity to access and conduct tests on key pieces of forensic evidence before her trial. A refusal by the authorities to take such a simple, warranted step, would only be seen as furthering the injustice inflicted on Lindy Chamberlain and her family. It is no answer to say she has been pardoned or that her conviction has been quashed. There will understandably be no closure from the legal process and its dreadful consequences for her until the public record - the death certificate - is corrected. That can't happen soon enough.


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 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;;