Sunday, October 24, 2010


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: In view of the $4.25 million compensation William Mullins-Johnson that was announced on October 21, 2010 by the Ontario government, I am re-running some early posts relating to the case. The following post - published on October 18, 2007, ran under the heading, "Mullins-Johnson: Sick Kids' Pediatrician Tells Court She "Deferred" To Charles Smith."


Dr. Marcellina Mian, a pediatrician at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto has defended the opinion she co-signed with Dr. Charles Smith which has been discredited by subsequent events in the William Mullins-Johnson case.

In 1993, Mian was a pediatrician and Director of the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Program at the Hospital For Sick Children in Toronto - and Smith was Director of Autopsy Pathology and Director of the Ontario Pediatric Forensic Pathology Unit which is located at the hospital.

The joint report, dated August 6, 1993, ends with Dr. Mian's signature above Dr. Smith's, and was an exhibit at the trial which resulted in Mullins-Johnson's conviction for first-degree murder.

The co-authors say in their "Conclusion" that, "This child's (Valin Johnson's) photographs show findings which if confirmed by the post-mortem examination, indicate death by asphyxiation, trauma to the head and injury to the perineum and anus. In the absence of a reasonable explanation by history, they indicate non-accidental trauma, including sexual abuse."

The photographs had been taken during an autopsy conducted on June 27, 1993.

Dr. Michael Pollanen, Ontario's Chief Pathologist, told the Ontario Court of Appeal on Monday September 15, that subsequent testing has shown that 4-year-old Valin was neither sexually assaulted or murdered but died a natural death.

Pollanen explained that the experts had wrongly interpreted pathological changes which occurred in Valin's body after her death.

Dr. Mian was recently cross-examined by Toronto lawyer Andrew Czernik, at the aggravated assault trial of Gregory Johnson.

The transcript reads in part:

q. Well sometimes do you ever find you might give an explanation for what you think may have happened and it turns out to be wrong?

A. Occasionally, yes. Sure.

Q. I say this with a great deal of delicacy. The Mullins-Johnson case, William Mullins-Johnson, you are familiar with that one?

A: You will have to refresh my memory;

Q. It's a long ago case. However it's quite famous because it involves Dr. Charles Smith.

A: Mm, hmm.

Q: Where William Mullins-Johnson was convicted of murder back in I think 1994 because it was alleged that he had sodomized his four year old niece and then murdered her. And it was the sodomy of the four year old niece which elevated it from second degree murder to first degree murder. Does that ring a bell?

A: Yes. I recall it, yes.

Q: And it has been the subject of a great deal of press, hasn't it?

A: I believe so, yes.

Q. And in fact the prevailing view, and you stop me if I am wrong on this, the prevailing view is that there was no sodomy, no murder, and that this man is going to be exonerated; Is that correct?

A: That's my understanding, yes.

Q: But you yourself opined in 1993 that this child had been sodomized, didn't you?

A: No. I believe I opined, if I am recalling the case, that what i saw was of concern but I deferred to the pathologist (Dr. Smith) in terms of any specific findings. So I don't believe I reached a definitive conclusion in the case."...

At the outset of his testimony at the Mullins-Johnson trial, Smith was asked by the prosecutor to describe how he had been brought in to the case.

"It would be, oh help me, about a year ago I believe, Doctor Meehan (Mian) had received some photographs from Dr. Rosaiah, (The pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Valin Johnson) that related to the autopsy on this little girl who we're discussing today," Smith replied.

"Dr. Meehan, Dr. Marcie (Marcellina) Meehan (Mian) is head of a program at the Hospital for Sick Children which deals with child abuse and neglect.

She had examined these photographs, she was quite comfortable in dealing with aspects of those photographs that dealt with possible sexual abuse, but there were aspects of the photographs that dealt with the mechanism of death which of course she is a pediatrician, was uncomfortable discussing, so she brought the photographs to me, and they asked me to help with the interpretation of those.

So we both authored a report together, based simply on the photographic evidence that Dr. Rasaiah had provided to Dr. Meehan (Mian);"

Harold Levy;