Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Association in Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted educational conference: Saturday, November 23, 2013; Huffington Post story on the event: "Stand up for the wrongfully convicted," by Stephen Weir.


For many years I have watched in awe as The Association in Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted freed and exonerated so many innocent people who had exhausted all of their legal remedies - including many victims of the infamous former pathologist Charles Smith, the namesake of this Blog. I therefore am pleased to use this Blog to highlight AIDWYC'S upcoming conference, to be held on Saturday, November 23, 2013. I was  also pleased to assist AIDWYC by  conducting four interviews relating to the plight of the wrongly convicted in Canada and the United States. Links to these interviews are to be found in the Huffington Post article. Of particular interest to the devotees of this Blog will be the panel on "Misdiagnosis: Shaken Baby Syndrome" composed of  Keith Findley. Dr. Emma Cunliffe, Heather Kirkwood and Dr. Mark Shuman -  and a panel on "Forensic science and its bipolar relationship with miscarriages of justice: Depression and Exhilaration," composed of Alan Gold, Barry Scheck and Professor Michael Saks. I look forward to being there.

Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

STORY:   "Stand up for the wrongfully convicted," by Stephen Weir, published by  the Huffington Post on November 13, 2013.

GIST:  "Over the past 20 years, the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC) have quarterbacked 18 post-conviction exonerations of people convicted of murder here in Canada. As AIDWYC gets set to mark its 20th anniversary, there are appeals before the courts that could cause that successful case count to rise. On Friday morning, the Supreme Court of Canada ordered that Leighton Hay, a Toronto man found guilty of first-degree murder in 2004, will have a new trial. For 12 years Mr. Hay and AIDWYC have been fighting to clear his name and the Supreme Court of Canada's decision is an important step towards establishing his innocence. AIDWYC success stories are becoming more familiar to Canadians as more innocent people gain their freedom from Canadian prisons. Stephen Truscott, David Milgaard, Guy Paul Morin and Robert Baltovich are household names in Canada and are five of the eighteen prisoners who have been rescued by AIDWYC. Unfortunately, these cases are not proof that police investigation and crown prosecution techniques are improving overtime. More often or not, at least according to experts like the Innocence Project, "the common themes that run through these cases -- from global problems like poverty and racial issues to criminal justice issues like eyewitness mis-identification, invalid or improper forensic science, overzealous police and prosecutors and inept defense counsel -- cannot be ignored and continue to plague our criminal justice system."......... AIDWYC is hosting a day-long educational conference and gala dinner at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Toronto on November 23 to study and discuss the underlying causes of wrongful conviction. Over the course of the day everything from a discussion of Shaken Baby Syndrome, to a symposium about false confessions and plea bargains, will take place. Many of AIDWYC's clients and their families will be at the conference to share their stories. Toronto lawyer and retired Toronto Star investigative reporter Harold Levy has written about AIDWYC and the wrongly convicted over the past two decades. He also writes an award-winning blog about exoneration cases involving disgraced Ontario coroner Charles Smith. In preparation for the November 23 conference Levy has worked with videographer George Socka to interview four people about the plight of the wrongly convicted in Canada and the United States. Over the course of two weeks they interviewed Rob Baltovich, John Artis, Ralph Steinberg and Sean MacDonald.......... In the US, more so than in Canada, film stars, authors and musicians have lent their celebrity support to help bring attention to the plight of the Wrongly Convicted. Jason Baldwin, once sentenced to life in prison for the murder of three children in West Memphis, Arkansas, had the strong support of Johnny Depp, Eddie Vedder and the Dixie Chicks in his ongoing bid for freedom from a life sentence in a US jail. Canadian Film Maker Atom Egoyan has just made Devil's Knot, a film about the West Memphis Three starring Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth. Both Egoyan and Baldwin will be at the conference, Baldwin as the Keynote Speaker and Egoyan will introduce him. Also participating, amongst many others will be Toronto lawyer and AIDWYC co-founder James Lockyer, New York lawyers and co-founder's of the Innocence Project Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, the founder of Centurion Ministries, James McCloskey, co-host of the Fifth Estate, Linden MacIntyre, and Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada."


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: