Saturday, November 21, 2015

Henry Keogh: (Aftermath 8): The disastrous role of Dr. Colin Mannock in multiple miscarriages of justice in South Australia;From a paper recently delivered by Dr. Bob Moles and Professor Bibi...

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  A paper recently delivered  by Dr. Bob Moles and Professor Bibi Sangha  sets out the disastrous role played by Dr. Colin Manock - former Chief  Forensic Pathologist of South Australia - in South Australia's criminal justice system.  From a different perspective, the paper illustrates how one individual can pollute the quality of   of justice in a jurisdiction - as also  did the former doctor Charles Smith in Ontario  - and reminds us of the importance of carefully choosing and constantly scrutinizing those whom we place in important positions (especially those involving scientific complexity)  in the criminal  justice system.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

PAPER" Address delivered on November 19, 2015 to the to the AIJA Court and Legal Industry Media Officers’ Conference,  Australian Miscarriages of Justice.

GIST:  "To recognize that the criminal appeal system in all states and territories of Australia fails to comply with international human rights obligations is a situation which cannot be allowed to continue.1 Whilst the law has now been changed in South Australia and Tasmania, much more remains to be done there and in the other states and territories. I did address the AIJA judicial officers conference in Sydney in September 2011, and the biennial conference of District and Co Court judges of Australia and New Zealand in Melbourne in April this year. I thought it was important to let them know that we do have a serious problem with the issue of miscarriages of justice in Australia, not just in South Australia. It is extremely important that you should also know about the extent of the problem which we face........The South Australian experience: "We commenced our public discussion of potential miscarriage of justice cases in South Australia with an ABC 4 Corners program ‘Expert Witness’ broadcast in October 2001. It referred to the fact that Dr Manock had been appointed to be Chief Forensic Pathologist in South Australia in 1968. He had no formal qualifications as a forensic pathologist. Sometime later an advertisement was placed in the British Medical Journal to appoint someone as the Senior Director of Forensic Pathology. Dr Manock, instead of applying for the job, brought legal action against the State of South Australia and the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science (IMVS) for breach of contract. He said that he took the advertisement to mean that he had been subjected to constructive dismissal because he had been appointed as the head of forensic pathology. The legal proceedings took place over 6 years. The Director of the IMVS said in his evidence that it was an ‘awkward’ situation: I tried to encourage Dr Manock - to study - and obtain his membership of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australia - because we had a man who had no specialist qualifications in a specialist's job, and without that this would have been a severe embarrassment.
He added, ‘Dr Manock was unable to do certifying the cause of death because [of] his lack in histopathology.’ Although the civil litigation ended in favour of Dr Manock, that did not make him any better qualified in forensic pathology. He had been made a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia in 1971. However, this was only because he was exempted from the five years of study and examinations. A spokesman for the Royal College of Pathology said of the oral-only examination, ‘It would probably have been about 20 minutes, and he would've been asked questions related to forensic pathology.’ Dr Manock was later appointed to be an examiner of the College of Pathology. Yet, he never undertook any formal written examinations in pathology or histopathology. He never published anything after the mid-1960s. He has publicly stated that he had helped to secure over 400 criminal convictions. Malcolm McCusker QC, the former Governor of Western Australia, has stated that they will all need to be re-examined. Dr Manock has conducted over 10,000 autopsies. They too will need to be re-examined. Unfortunately the authorities in South Australia have refused to conduct any form of inquiry into the issues which we raised all that time ago. Hopefully, that will soon change. If it was appropriate to have Royal Commissions into cases such as Lindy Chamberlain, Edward Splatt and Eugene McGee, then it is self-evident that we should have one here. The case reports:  We thought that we might be able to contribute further to the public discussion of these issues so we published two further books. A State of Injustice in 2004 covered a number of cases which we thought contained the clearest possible errors of a forensic nature, all involving the work of Dr Manock. Losing Their Grip – the case of Henry Keogh was published in 2006. Frits Van Beelen involved the murder of a young girl on Taperoo beach in the early 1970s. Dr Manock said that he was ‘virtually certain’ he could determine the time of death to within half an hour by the visual inspection of stomach contents, after they had been frozen and stored for months. A few years later in another case he admitted that this method was ‘very unreliable’. No one thought to go back and review the conviction of Mr Van Beelen who was still serving his lengthy prison sentence. The convictions in the Canadian case of Stephen Truscott (2007) and the New Zealand case of Mark Lundy (2013) have both been overturned because of the unacceptability of this type of evidence. The case of David Szach (1979) involved the shooting murder of a prominent criminal lawyer in Adelaide. The timing of death was crucial. The prosecutor (Brian Martin) said ‘… the objective and scientific evidence means that [the deceased] was dead by 6.40, and the accused was there.’ A world-leading authority on the timing of death, based upon post mortem temperatures, said the calculations were ‘speculative’, ‘ill founded’ and ‘cannot be substantiated.’ The case of Mrs Emily Perry (1981) involved the allegation that she had attempted to murder her husband by the malicious administration of arsenic. In overturning the conviction in the High Court, Justice Murphy said that the prosecution should use people who are substantially and not merely nominally experts in their field. He added, the case ‘revealed an appalling departure from acceptable standards of forensic science..’ and that ‘the evidence was not fit to be taken into consideration’. Derek Bromley was convicted of the murder of Stephen Docoza in 1984. Although he completed his non-parole period in 2008, he remains in prison because he maintains that he is innocent of the crimes for which he was convicted. The evidence given at his trial in relation to the cause of death and injuries was inconsistent with the known facts about drowning deaths and the causes of injuries in such cases. When Dr Manock was produced as the chief Crown witness in this case, no mention was made of the previous adverse comments about him by the High Court in the Perry case, despite the fact that the same prosecutor (Brian Martin) appeared in both casesWe know from his recent inquiry into the David Eastman 8 case, that prosecutors must disclose anything and everything which might be of assistance to the defence in such cases. The case of Terry Akritidis (1990) involved a possible suicide or murder after he was said to have jumped to his death from a police radio tower. Dr Manock explained that although his body had knocked a hole in the concrete roof of an adjacent building, his ‘clothing’ had protected his body from serious injuries. Dr Manock said that he learned about the severity of injuries in such cases by reading his own previous autopsy reports. He stated that Akritidis had died 12 hours before his body was undressed at the autopsy at 8.15am. This turned out to be two hours after his dead body already stiff with rigor mortis had been found by the police around 6pm the previous evening. No one seemed to notice there was a problem with this. In the case of Gerald Warren, Dr Manock said that the young aboriginal boy had fallen from a moving vehicle whilst intoxicated and the marks associated with his injuries had been caused by the fabric of corduroy (his trousers). He subsequently learned that he had been beaten with a metal pipe with a thread on the end, and his body had been run over by a ‘ute’. In explaining his inconsistent autopsy reports, Dr Manock said that the pressure from the fabric of corduroy would cause similar injuries to those of a blow from the threaded end of a metal pipe. He said that a person falling out of a moving vehicle would have similar injuries to a person who had a vehicle driven backwards and forwards over their body. Apparently, it was his expert opinion that ‘the forces involved in either scenario are very similar.’ Clearly, that was not correct. The Baby Deaths 1994.In 1994 the Coroner conducted an inquiry into 3 baby deaths. Each died in separate incidents. Two were 3 months of age - one was 9 months of age. Dr Manock said each had died of bronchopneumonia. The Coroner found that was not correct as there were no traces of bronchopneumonia. However, one of the babies had 15 fractured ribs, 2 serious fractures of the skull and a very serious fracture of the spine. The Coroner said that the autopsies had achieved the opposite of their intended purpose – they had closed off inquiries rather than opening them up. He said that Dr Manock claimed to have seen things which couldn’t have been seen, such as signs of bronchopneumonia, because they didn’t exist. He said that the answers given to some questions at the inquiry, by the pathologist, were ‘spurious’. This means, ‘not genuine’, ‘not being what it pretends to be’, ‘illegitimate’. Obviously a serious judgment about an expert witness giving evidence on oath."

The entire paper can be found at:]

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 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:  
I look forward to hearing from readers at:;  Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;