Monday, November 29, 2010


"It causes me great pain every time I am characterized as a child abuser, a child beater, and a mother who made a terrible mistake. I am none of these things, save and except for the last, and that mistake was leaving my daughter with a babysitter who sexually assaulted and killed her in my home while his mother was upstairs," Ms Waudby says in the affidavit."



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. Ms. Waudby explains her reasons for bringing the application is an affidavit which can be found at Click "cases", click application record" and then scroll down to "affidavit."

This affidavit - replete with allegations of a coerced confession - is one of the most disturbing court documents which i have ever seen in my lengthy career career as a criminal lawyer and journalist.

I encourage all of our readers around the world to read it - and to follow this case closely.



"(PETERBOROUGH) Distressed, off her medication, hungry, and harassed for months, Brenda Waudby says she plead guilty in 1999 to abusing her daughter, Jenna Mellor, believing it was the only way to hold onto her two remaining children,"
the November 26, 2010 story by reporter Joel Wiebe, published under the heading "No other options, begins.

""I am not a perfect mother, and I have had some great challenges in my life, but I have loved all of my children deeply and I did not beat Jenna the night before she died," she says in sworn affidavit dated Oct. 7 and filed Oct. 28 in Superior Court," the story continues.

"Peterborough This Week has spent the past month attempting to gain access to the document.

For more than 11 years, she's been convicted of abusing her child. Now she's appealing her original guilty plea and disputing her so-called confession.

Ms Waudby's lawyer, Julie Kirkpatrick, said her client didn't want to speak to the media but would rather have her story told through the affidavit, which chronicle's her 13-year ordeal.

In the months following the death of her 21-month-old daughter, Ms Waudby was charged with her murder. Pathologist Dr. Charles Smith, whose work in many cases has been questioned with some convictions overturned in the last few years, erroneously pinpointed the time of her fatal injury to have been while her daughter was in her care. When it became evident two years later that she couldn't have inflicted the fatal wounds on her daughter, she pleaded guilty to child abuse. Since then, the then-14-year-old babysitter has been convicted of manslaughter, sentenced, and released.

"It causes me great pain every time I am characterized as a child abuser, a child beater, and a mother who made a terrible mistake. I am none of these things, save and except for the last, and that mistake was leaving my daughter with a babysitter who sexually assaulted and killed her in my home while his mother was upstairs," Ms Waudby says in the affidavit.

As a young offender, the babysitter cannot be identified and he was not convicted of sexual assault.

The bottom line is: she says she never should have been put in a position where she had to choose between a conviction and her family.

Ms Waudby goes into great detail describing the events leading up to her confession and the ensuing conviction, adamantly denying she every physically harmed her daughter beyond spanking her diaper. She says police put her under surveillance using wiretaps and an undercover officer dubbed Ramona who befriended her. She accuses police of fabricating the fact that medical evidence conclusively excluded the babysitter. Not able to remember hitting her daughter, she became convinced at one point, from the police and suggestions from her undercover friend, that she was suffering from a memory lapse.

"Between July 7, 1997 and September 18, 1997, the focus of the police investigation was clearly to convince me that I had caused harm to Jenna during a 'blackout period' and to obtain a confession which would 'substantiate a pattern of past abuse' involving older rib injuries," she states in the document.

Ms Waudby describes the morning of Sept. 18, 1997, when she was arrested in front of her daughter before she had her breakfast or had taken her anxiety medication, neither of which was provided to her during the rest of the day. She was taken to the police station and told police had a report from Dr. Smith stating there was no doubt the fatal injures happened while Jenna was in her care.

"They also kept telling me that Dr. Smith was the best pathologist in the country and his report could not be wrong," she states.

She admitted to dropping her daughter on the crib railing, but she says in the document that it wasn't enough to account for the injuries. She was then left for a half hour with autopsy pictures of her late daughter and was told if she confessed she could try and get her other daughter back. A second videotaped confession was taken where she admitted she swung her arms and may have hit her daughter.

If her case went to trial, the Children's Aid Society would need to seek Crown wardship because of her length of time in their custody, which she claims left her feeling she had no choice but to plead guilty.

Hugh Nicholson, Director of the local Children's Aid Society, said confidentiality agreements mean he can't talk about Ms Waudby's case, but as a policy, he said there are minimum temporary custody limits. If a child is younger than six, the limit is one year, if they're older, it's two. A parent can still try and get their child back after the Crown becomes the ward, but not if they get permanently adopted he said.

"I imagine it happens," he says of children becoming Crown wards while their parents are under lengthy criminal proceedings.

Staff Sergeant Dan Smith of the Peterborough police said the department can't comment on the case since there is currently a civil suit from Ms Waudby underway which involves the police."


The story - with a link to the affidavit - can be found at:;

Once connected with, click "cases" click "application record" and then scroll down to "affidavit."


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;;