Friday, December 12, 2014

Back in action: Catch-up (1): Leighton Hay; Ontario; Freed after more than 12 years behind bars following scientific testing of hairs - following a Supreme Court of Canada decision and prosecutor's decision to terminate the case. (Another important victory for the Canadian-based Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted. (AIDWYC); HL.)

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: BACK IN ACTION: (1):  The Charles Smith Blog is back in action after your erstwhile publisher spent a glorious two months spent wandering through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Japan. Over the next couple of weeks or so I will update readers on developments which occurred in my absence. I am starting with the Ontario case of Leighton Hay who has been freed after spending  12 1/2 years in prison on  a murder conviction which centered on the  issue as to whether, as the prosecutors argued, Hay had taken a haircut between the crime and his arrest. The best account of the case I have found was published  by The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted shortly before the first degree murder prosecution was to be terminated on November 28, 2014.

Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

STORY: News release published by The Association in Defence of The Wrongly convicted  on November 27, 2014, under the heading "Leighton Hay to be released from court after 12  1/2 years in jail for a murder he didn't commit."

GIST:  "AIDWYC lawyers decided to seek scientific testing of the hairs found in the home to see whether they really came from the supposed haircut. They asked Mr. Tony Tessarolo, the Director of the Centre of Forensic Sciences (the Centre) whether microscopic examination of the hairs could determine if they were hairs from a haircut or hairs from the shave of a beard. Mr. Tessarolo agreed to have the Centre conduct an examination of the hairs. The Crown opposed this testing and refused to allow the Centre to examine the hairs. AIDWYC then brought a motion before the Supreme Court of Canada for an order that the exhibits be released to the Centre. The Supreme Court of Canada made this order on November 18, 2010. The examination was conducted by the Centre’s scientist Ms. Joanne Almer, and was monitored by two outside experts, one retained by the defence and the other by the Crown. The scientists found that the hairs were from a facial shave “to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty” and were not from a haircut. The prosecution theory that Leighton had shaved his head to disguise his appearance evaporated. He could not have been the gunman with the two inch picky dreads described by the Crown witness. Following this scientific consensus, AIDWYC resolved that Mr. Hay was innocent and had been wrongly convicted. Armed with this new scientific evidence, counsel for AIDWYC presented Leighton’s case to the Supreme Court of Canada in April, 2013.
In a lengthy and incisive judgment, delivered on November 8, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada admitted the scientific evidence, quashed Leighton’s conviction and ordered a new trial for him. ”

The entire release can be found at:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
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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:
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Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;