Wednesday, November 9, 2011


"It was shocking, then, to learn last week that an eastern Ontario school had welcomed Smith as a guest speaker on the role of pathologists and DNA.

Given his role in a litany of wrongful convictions — many of them against parents and other family members — in child death cases, Smith is hardly a role model or a legitimate authority on pathology and DNA."



BACKGROUND: The Goudge inquiry focused largely on the flawed work of Charles Smith — formerly the province's chief pediatric pathologist and a self-styled member of the prosecution team — whose "errors" led to innocent people being branded as child murderers. (He has since been thrown out of the medical profession in Ontario); Justice Stephen Goudge's 1000-page report slammed Smith, along with Ontario's former chief coroner and his deputy, for their roles in wrongful prosecutions and asked the province to consider compensation. The provincial coroner's office found evidence of errors in 20 of 45 autopsies Smith did over a 10-year period starting in the early 1990s. Thirteen resulted in criminal charges. The inquiry heard that Smith's failings included hanging on to crucial evidence (instead of processing it), "losing" evidence which showed his opinion was wrong and may have helped show that the accused person was innocent, mistating evidence, chronic tardiness, and the catastrophic misinterpretation of findings. The cases, along with other heart-rending stories of wrongful prosecutions based in part on Smith's testimony, also raised a host of issues about the pediatric pathology system in Ontario and the use of expert evidence in the criminal courts.


PUBLISHER'S VIEW: This is pure Charles Smith - conning someone to have him invited to address a class of high school. He, the unrepentant former Dr. Charles Randal Smith, who is probably responsible for more miscarriages of justice and destroying the lives of more individuals and families than any other individual in Canadian history. It's just like his conning of a friend to have him hired by a hospital in Saskatoon after he had come under investigation in Ontario and had slunk away quietly from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. He, the disgraced physician recently declared incompetent and found guilty of acts of professional misconduct who didn't even have the courage to show up for his discipline hearing. The former Dr. Charles Randal Smith - a great role model for our students who, having admitted to little more than "errors" and "mistakes," has clearly begun a campaign to rehabilitate himself in the forgetful public's eye. My gut feeling is that Smith has become emboldened by the fact that he has evaded prosecution for his crimes - and by the fact that not a single radio, television or print story marked September 20, 2011 - the 3d anniversary of Justice Stephen Goudge's damning report into many of his cases. It's worth noting that at the Goudge Inquiry, contrary to the myth Smith had constructed that he was a God of forensic pathology, he purported to be an ignoramus who had no understanding of medical matters. And now, according to the Toronto Sun, he's lecturing high school students on DNA! (Perhaps he regaled the students with stories, such as the occasion in 1997 when he brought his then 11-year-old son to the exhumation of an 11-month-old child in Sudbury, Ontario, who had died suddenly about nineteen months earlier after bumping his head while playing under a table.) This Leopard truly has not changed his spots. He's mocking us. Final thought: A message to Ontario's school boards. Get something positive out of this unfortunate experience. Ask people like Sherry (Sherret) Robinson, Brenda Waudby, Bill Mullins-Johnson, and all too many others, to come and talk about their experiences in Ontario's criminal justice system. (Not Charles Smith); Why not go one step further, and set up courses on the frailties of Ontario's criminal justice system that allowed Smith to destroy lives and families with impunity for so long?



"Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Stephen Goudge was clear in his criticism of Charles Smith in his 2008 report on the province’s child pathology system," the Law Times editorial written by Lisa Adamson published under the heading, "School wrong to welcome Charles Smith," begins.

“People complained repeatedly about Dr. Smith’s failure to produce reports in a timely fashion; his unresponsiveness; his carelessness; and the inconsistencies between his written reports, his pretrial comments, and his sworn evidence,” Goudge, commissioner of the public inquiry into the system, wrote," the editorial continues.

"It was shocking, then, to learn last week that an eastern Ontario school had welcomed Smith as a guest speaker on the role of pathologists and DNA. Given his role in a litany of wrongful convictions — many of them against parents and other family members — in child death cases, Smith is hardly a role model or a legitimate authority on pathology and DNA. As several media outlets reported last week, Smith gave the talk to about 30 Grade 11 students at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute in Picton, Ont., in late October. The Toronto Star quoted a school official noting that a student in the class has a family connection to Smith. The school board is now investigating how Smith ended up appearing before the class and whether it needs a centralized process for reviewing who gets to speak to students. The fact that Smith would think it’s fine for him to speak on a subject that was the source of his disgrace and that led to the revocation of his licence to practise is an affront. The fact that someone at a school would ignore those issues is equally outrageous. Smith obviously knows something about DNA and the role of pathologists. But his knowledge fell far short of the expertise required of someone who conducted more than 1,000 child autopsies. As we know now, Smith made repeated mistakes that led to criminal charges and convictions of people who had done nothing wrong. Smith harmed many people. The most grievously affected were the parents wrongfully implicated in their children’s deaths, but society has suffered in many other ways. The costs of Smith’s work have been enormous, of course. Not only did the province have to pay for Goudge’s inquiry, it continues to face the legal fallout of the wrongful convictions, including through the compensation scheme it set up last year as well as lawsuits by those affected. Moreover, Smith’s work cast a dark cloud over our justice system. It showed how fallible it can be when it places excessive trust in expert witnesses like Smith. So many people saw fault in Smith’s work along the way, but it took far too long for anyone in a position of authority to do anything about it. Smith has no business holding himself up as an authority on DNA or pathologists anywhere in this province. The Picton school, as the justice system did so belatedly, should have known that."


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 found at:

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;;