Thursday, August 9, 2012

Simon Hall: "The case of Simon Hall." An examination of the validity of the fibre evidence Tiernan Coyle.

STORY: "The case of Simon Hall," by Tiernan Coyle.

GIST: "On the 30th January 2012, a case study entitled "The Case of Simon Hall" was published by Science and Justice. I am the author of the case study. This case study was presented so as to inform the general forensic community what the scientific issues were in relating to the fibre evidence, described the interpretational issues raised by the scientists, highlighted the inequality of arms that exists between the state and the individual in cases where a miscarriage of justice may have occurred and exposed weaknesses in the current quality system proposed by the Forensic Regulator. The case study was peer reviewed and both reviewers had recommended it for publication. One peer reviewer stated that "... Overall I thought that the case review was very well structured and led the reader step by step through the various stages of the case history. In particular I thought that the case summary of the initial circumstances, findings and trial issues were well presented and relevant thereby setting the foundation for understanding the subsequent issues raised at the Appeal hearing. I also felt that the inequality of arms section was particularly compelling...I think that the author has presented a well-balanced and fair review of the issues surrounding the fibre evidence and has maintained an air of professional respect for all Scientists involved with this case whilst conveying his own views on the strength and validity of the fibre evidence. In terms of the scientific arguments put forward by the defence, I think all are valid and highly convincing and as such based on my own professional experience, I would concur with them in their entirety. The review does raise some important interpretational issues, that I feel should warrant debate within the forensic fibre community, and would therefore justify publication of this review within S & J. It also highlights the weaknesses of the criminal justice system in respect of possible miscarriages of justice and the need for better regulation of forensic scientists..."
Subsequent to its publication, I was informed by the Editor of Science and Justice that the Forensic Science Service had objected to the use of an image of a TLC plate within the publication stating that the image was their copyright. This image was presented by me in court as part of my evidence for the defence. It had been part of a bundle of visual aids which had been copied and distributed to the defence and prosecution (including experts from the Forensic Science Service). It was seen by members of the public who had access to a copy of the bundle of visual aids in the public gallery.
Against my wishes the case study has now been withdrawn. As the case study has technically been published in Science and Justice, I understand that it would be difficult to publish it elsewhere. On that basis and in the public interest, I have decided to make the content of the case study available to the general public.

The entire story can be found at:
I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.
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:
Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:
Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.