Wednesday, May 25, 2011


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am pleased to present the award to Guardian journalist Paul Lewis for his extraordinary reporting on the death of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests in London and the resulting inquest. Lewis has already been named reporter of the year by the British Press Awards. As Oliver Luft reported in the Press Gazette: "The stories revealed that Tomlinson, who was a newspaper vendor, died last April after being struck from behind and throw to the ground. Lewis told Press Gazette how his newspaper came under pressure from police to remove from its website a video, provided by a reader, which showed Tomlinson being pushed to the ground by officers. The police had said earlier that Tomlinson had been on his way home from work at a nearby newsagent when he collapsed. Lewis said: "The police came to the Guardian and asked us to remove the video from the website and we said no. "There were definitely attempts I felt, personally, to dissuade me from pursuing this story…There were police officers trying to discourage us from pursuing the story and also trying to discourage the family from talking to us. "That is in fact what makes it all the more satisfying. What journalists want really, often, is people that aren’t telling the truth and they want to find something out which disproves it." Lewis said the story about Tomlinson took six day to emerge as Guardian reporters used social media tools, such as Twitter, to unearth information from those that were present at the disturbances. "Initially, we didn’t get the video but we were getting stuff that was making us question the official version of events," Lewis said "I had a hunch at the beginning that the police’s version of events wasn’t true. I thought they were putting out misinformation. "That served as a magnet. Whenever you put something out into the public domain people know to contact you. On that basis we got hold of the video." The video was given to the paper by an unnamed American fund manager who was in London on business. "The scoop relied on the video, there is no doubt about it, but we had put a lot of effort into it beforehand," Lewis said. "At the time there wasn’t really anyone else writing the stories that we were writing, which were saying that witnesses had seen him [Tomlinson] knocked to the ground before he died." Lewis was critical of the reasons, he believed, more questions hadn’t been asked of the police’s version of events. He said: "I would say that is the Crime Reporters Association for you. Back in the mid 1990s a lot of Lobby correspondents started to undo their degree of proximity to politicians. There was a sense that they were often being misled. "I don’t think that has filtered through to crime reporters. I’m not a crime reporter but I think lots of crime reporters are blinkered by their proximity to senior police officers. And I think that is exactly what happened in this situation." The award is the second major press prize to recognise Lewis. In November he collected Bevins Prize for investigative journalism – the Rat Up a Drain Pipe award – at the Society of Editors conference for his stories about Tomlinson’s death." Lewis brings honour to the reporting profession. I am delighted to present him with "The Charles Smith Blog Award."



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.

0: New Yorker staff writer David Grann (U.S.A.)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);

0: Pamela Colloff (U.S.A) for her Texas Monthly stories which resulted in the freeing of Anthony Graves within 30 days of the appearance of her first story. Anthony Graves was convicted and sentenced to die in 1994 for six horrific murders in the Central Texas town of Somerville.

0: Julian Sher: (CANADA); for his TV documentaries "A Mother's Ordeal", which shed important new light on the wrongful prosecution of Brenda Waudby made possible by Charles Smith's flawed autopsy report - and "Execution Under Fire," a fascinating, maddening account of the wrongful execution of Cameron Todd Willingham at the hands of the unapologetic State of Justice. He becomes the first Canadian journalist to be presented with the Charles Smith Blog award.

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;


BACKGROUND; This award emanated from The Charles Smith Blog which I created on 2006 to expose the havoc wreaked by Dr. Charles Randal Smith - a pediatric pathologist (since struck from the registry of the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons for professional misconduct and incompetence) who purported to be a forensic pathologist and perceived his role to be that of an advocate for the prosecution team - and in the process he destroyed many lives. (Dr. Smith was a pediatric pathologist); Although much of its attention has been focused on an independent public inquiry into many of Smith's cases, now that the Inquiry has completed its work, I am also focusing on ongoing cases anywhere in the world which involve miscarriages of justice caused by flawed forensic pathology, flawed pathologists, junk science, pseudo-experts or a combination of any of the above. Some of the cases considered by the Blog have only come to public attention because of the magnificent efforts of journalists (and occasionally people from other walks of life) be they in the print or electronic media. I myself was a reporter for many years at the Toronto Star. I launched the Charles Smith Blog Award in 2009 as a forum in which I could honour these journalists by drawing attention to their work on stories which, in my personal view, represent what journalism at its best is all about - the exposure of miscarriages of justice.

EXPOSURE: The Charles Smith Blog has attracted more than 150,000 hits from all over the world since its inception and is currently listed in several lists of the top forensic science and criminology blogs.

CRITERIA: The award is presented for excellence in exposing miscarriages of justice caused anywhere in the world by flawed pathology, flawed pathologists, junk science, pseudo-experts or a combination of any of the above.

UNUSUAL NATURE: This award is entirely virtual. There is no no ceremony; There is no prize; There is no certificate. It is a pure and unadulterated honour bestowed by myself as publisher in recognition of contributions by others to this important area of journalism.


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:

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;;