Wednesday, November 24, 2010


"Ms Waudby doesn't mind the information going public. In fact, she would love to have more people know.

Her lawyer Julie Kirkpatrick hasn't tried to stop us either. She would just prefer that we get the information from the courthouse.

We wish we could."



PUBLISHER'S NOTE: It is clear from the evidence called at the Goudge inquiry that Brenda Waudby - an utterly innocent individual who's baby daughter had been murdered by her babysitter - had been required to plead guilty to a charge of child abuse under provincial legislation before the Crown would withdraw the the second-degree murder charge on the basis of medical opinions which showed she could not possibly have committed the crime. It is also clear that Dr. Charles Smith's opinion that there were injuries which preceded the attack on Baby Jenna - which led to her being wrongfully charged with murder - was also the basis for the provincial charge, along with what the police claimed to be a confession. Instead of receiving the sympathy and compassion she deserved as a grieving mother whose baby daughter had been murdered, Ms. Waudby, a grieving mother, was herself charged with the horrific crime and not surprisingly became a pariah in her community. Brenda Waudby has been given a raw deal by Ontario's criminal justice system. We can only hope that the Court will give her the opportunity to strike the plea that she felt compelled to make in the circumstances, allow her to call the fresh evidence which she says clears her of this offence, and go the rest of the distance necessary to clear her name.



"Two weeks ago, we told you Brenda Waudby is appealing a child-abuse conviction from the late 1990s as part of her ongoing exercise to clear her name. No, she did not kill her daughter Jenna in 1997 and yes, she is trying to rebuild her life,"
the November 10, 2010 Peterborough This Week editorial published under the heading, "Our opinion: Why the courts need to get into this century," begins.

"We would love to tell you more about the case but we keep running into roadblocks that prevent us from getting into the file that shows why Ms Waudby should or should not have her conviction withdrawn. We've seen the 100-page document briefly but have not been allowed to copy it so we can read it thoroughly and provide accurate coverage," the editorial continues.

"Ms Waudby doesn't mind the information going public. In fact, she would love to have more people know.

Her lawyer Julie Kirkpatrick hasn't tried to stop us either. She would just prefer that we get the information from the courthouse.

We wish we could.

To be fair to the courthouse staff, they are following a policy from the attorney-general's office that "prohibits the publication of any identifying information about a child, child's parent or foster parent or a member of the child's family in a child protection case. Court staff are therefore not permitted to provide public or media access to court documents filed in child protection cases, including any warrant issued under the Child and Family Services Act, even to members of the media who may have attended the hearing."

We attended the hearing. It didn't get far since, as happens in many cases, the lawyers involved needed more time to prepare. We asked for permission to get into the courtroom, as the law states, and played by the rules.

However, the next step of getting information that the lawyers have but that has not been read into the court record has proved frustrating.

So why do we feel we should have access to these documents? Once filed with the courthouse, they are public documents. (Just ask our lawyer.) We aren't planning to publish all 100 pages but we should be able to read them. Yes, some of the information will be covered by a publication ban, but we cannot decide what needs to be shared and what needs to be held back until we see it. That's why the law states the information shouldn't be published instead of it not being available, which is what the attorney-general's office has chosen to do.

So, two weeks later, we are no further ahead. The courthouse staff have talked to our staff and our lawyer. The attorney-general's office is now involved and has kept us waiting until the 11th hour. We could not get the information to you by our print deadline now, even if they said yes.

Four years ago, the attorney-general struck a Panel on Justice and The Media to give reporters better access to court files so we can share information with you, our readers. The only success story so far is the change in price for photocopies dropped from $2 per page to $1.

Do you think that brings Brenda Waudby any comfort? Neither do we."

The editorial can be found at:

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;;