Saturday, November 5, 2011


"Sherret-Robinson, who spent one year in jail after being convicted of her child's death, was exonerated last year and has received financial compensation from the province.

The PECI class, she said, needs to hear the whole story.

"I don't know what exactly happens in law classes and I don't know how in-depth they would go into wrongful convictions but this is my way of educating them on how it happens. This," she said, "is real.":



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?



"A review into what led to a decision to permit a disgraced pathologist address a Grade 11 class at a Prince Edward County high school is proceeding slowly and cautiously, says a local school board official," the Belleville Intelligencer story by reporter W. Brice McVicar published on November 3, 2011 under the heading, "Board walks slowly through minefield," begins.

"Kerry Donnell, spokesperson for the Hastings and Prince Edward Counties District School Board, said the review of how and why Charles Smith came to be a guest speaker at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute last week is continuing. Smith — whose flawed techniques resulted in the wrongful arrest and conviction of 13 individuals across Ontario — spoke to a law class about the role of a pathologist and DNA," the story continues.

"His appearance and speech at the school was not approved by the local school board and has resulted in officials reviewing the matter and considering introducing a policy that could change the way guest speakers are handled across the board. Currently, schools handle the invitation and appearance of guest speakers though, in this instance, a family connection between a student and Smith is believed to be the impetus behind his visit.

"It's still progressing. The review is still going on," Donnell said Thursday. "There are active meetings and discussions going on between the superintendent and the school administrators."

News of Smith's visit made national headlines and prompted local resident Sherry Sherret-Robinson — convicted of killing her infant son based on Smith's findings and testimony — to question the logic of having the man speak to students.

Donnell said the board's director of education, Rob McGall, is committed to working with the families and seeing the matter through to the "most positive or beneficial outcome" for all.

Just what a positive outcome would be, however, Donnell could not say.

"We don't know yet," she said. "If I had a crystal ball and could see into the future I'd love to know where this is going to go. That's part of where we're at now. We're going day-by-day, meeting-by-meeting to determine what's our next step."

Part of the process may involve hearing from Sherret-Robinson. She has contacted the school board and offered to speak to the same class Smith did.

Speaking to the class, Sherret-Robinson said, would allow the students to hear another angle on pathology.

"They were able to see, from his point of view, what pathology and DNA is about and there's all this controversy because there's no way he should have been there," she said. "I expressed to Mr. McGall that those students have the right to know exactly what's going on and why."

A 2007 coroner's review of 45 of Smith's autopsies between 1991 and 2002 found that Smith made questionable conclusions in 20 cases. His medical licence expired in August 2008 and was never renewed as The College of Physicians and Surgeons revoking it last February.

Sherret-Robinson, who spent one year in jail after being convicted of her child's death, was exonerated last year and has received financial compensation from the province.

The PECI class, she said, needs to hear the whole story.

"I don't know what exactly happens in law classes and I don't know how in-depth they would go into wrongful convictions but this is my way of educating them on how it happens. This," she said, "is real."

Donnell said whether Sherret-Robinson will appear before the students hasn't been determined.

"We're aware that Ms. Sherret-Robinson has asked to go in and talk to the class, but we're not there yet," Donnell said. "We still have things to work through. This is significant and we want to make sure we're making the best decisions as we move through this.""

The story 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 found at:

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

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;;