Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Charles Smith: The Toronto Star takes a look at what has happened in the five year and one month since Justice Stephen Goudge lambasted the state of forensic pediatric pathology in Ontario in his report on the public inquiry he conducted into flawed child death investigations done by the name-sake of this Blog - the former Dr. Charles Randal Smith.

Publisher's view: Around the fifth anniversary of Justice Stephen Goudge's report into Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system (September  30, 2008) there are some positives and one  glaring negative to report. On the positive side, as the Toronto Star story that is the subject of this post points out, Dr. Pollanen has instilled into child death investigations in the province a philosophy of "thinking truth" rather than "thinking dirty. Dr. Pollanen played a huge role in toppling Smith from his haughty throne  - and helping people who had been wrongfully charged and convicted as a result of Smith being exonerated by the Ontario Court of  Appeal. The article suggests that the Chief Coroner's Office  has become a transparent body - making it a far cry from the devious, secretive body that it was during the years that it was covering up for Charles Smith, along with the disciplinary body of the medical profession in Ontario, the College of Physicians and Surgeons.  I have seen nothing to contradict this assertion and truly hope that such is the case. I have also heard that the Ontario Attorney General's Office has put procedures in place to ensure that there is a thorough review of suspicious child deaths throughout the province before criminal charges are laid. This also is an important step in the right direction. Certainly, the Smith debacle has, at least for the time being, taught all of the actors in the  criminal justice system of the need to avoid being sucked in by pseudo "experts" such as Smith - and of the need to acquire real  factual evidence  of criminal guilt - rather than relying strictly on a pathologist's expert opinion.  These  improvement, including many others which arose from Justice Goudge's excellent public Inquiry, are worth applauding.   The glaring negative is that Charles Smith was never brought to account in the criminal courts. So many innocent grieving  parents and caregivers went to prison for years as child killers because of  the murder which existed only in his head - yet he has not gone to jail for a single day - in spite of his lies both inside out of court,  his prejudice against people who did not fit in with his "Christian" standards,  and his manipulation of the criminal justice system to  ensure that people who he did not like were convicted of the most serious crimes.  Today (Wednesday October 30, 2013) is the day that former Massachusetts  lab technician Annie Dookhan is expected to indicate that she plans to change her not guilty pleas in relation to hundreds of cases where she certified that exhibits contained illicit drugs without even testing them. Annie Dookhan has been forced to answer for her actions in the criminal courts - and faces as many as five years behind bars.  That's the way it should be.  In sheer contrast,  the Ontario government has allowed Smith to fade into  the sunset with complete and utter immunity from prosecution - even though innocent persons spent years in prison as murderers and lost their surviving children  forever to the Child Welfare process because of their convictions. I suspect, the  government was more concerned with keeping the file on Smith tightly closed, rather than bringing Smith to account in the criminal courts - a process which would once again expose the government's complicity in allowing  Smith to exercise so much power in the criminal justice system - and to ruin  so many innocent  lives. 

Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

STORY: "Ontario's forensic pathologists better equipped in 'search for truth'; Five years after Goudge Inquiry into Charles Smith, Ontario boasts a well-trained , accountable death investigation system," by reporter Jennifer Pagliaro, published by the Toronto Star on October 28, 2013.

GIST: "It’s been five years since Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Stephen Goudge lambasted forensic pathology’s state of affairs in the wake of the inquiry into flawed child death investigations done by former Sick Kids pediatric pathologist Dr. Charles Smith. Since then, Pollanen, 45, has been tasked with building the service from the rubble.........After joining the staff at the former Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit in 2003, Pollanen implemented crucial autopsy guidelines in 2005 and would take the helm as chief forensic pathologist in 2006 as allegations about Smith’s work were starting to boil over. Pollanen would be key to reversing judgments in several wrongful convictions, in the review of Smith’s work and moving the service toward an evidence-based approach. Unlike the methodology used by Smith, which incorporated anecdotal evidence about those accused and was condemned by Goudge in his report, Pollanen said it is not their job to make judgments on who could have inflicted that trauma. They’re simply the voice of the body as a “silent witness,” he said.........Since the Goudge report and inquiry into Smith’s work picked apart the failure to question and criticize his work, there is now legislated attention to oversight — including the creation of a provincial Death Investigation Oversight Council in 2010 and mandatory peer review of all criminally suspicious deaths......... Changes continue to roll out in the wake of Goudge’s report — a “culture of accountability” Pollanen said he embraces. This summer Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur announced forensic pathologists would take on the coroner’s role in determining cause of death in cases of homicide or suspicious death — some 250 cases annually. In those cases, where pathologists can be called to testify about their findings, Pollanen sees it as an opportunity to earn the public’s trust for the knowledge they can share."
The entire story can be found at:


Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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:

I look forward to hearing from readers at:;