Friday, December 31, 2021

Publisher's Note: International cases (outside of the Continental U.S.A.): Over the years, I have been using this Blog to follow cases that raise noteworthy forensic issues, so that readers can stay on top of developments. What makes the Blog unusual, is the fact that many of these cases are from jurisdictions outside of the continental U.S.A. - including, Japan, Israel, France, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, The United Kingdom and Hawaii. Here is a summary of some of the on-going 'international' cases I am following, as we head into the New Year, with lots of anticipated new grist for The Charles Smith Blog mill. Get ready! Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog.


PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  International cases  (outside of  the Continental U.S.A.): Over the years, I have been using this Blog to follow cases that raise noteworthy forensic issues, so that readers can stay on top of developments. What makes the Blog unusual, is the fact that many of these cases are from jurisdictions outside of the continental U.S.A. -  including, Japan, Israel, France,  New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, The United Kingdom and Hawaii. Here is a summary of some of the on-going 'international'  cases I am following, as we head into the New Year, with lots of new grist for The  Charles Smith Blog mill.

Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog.

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JAPAN: IWAO HAKAMADA:  On June 30, 1966, there was a fire at the home of one of Hakamada's bosses. According to Hakamada, he helped extinguish the fire only to find the bodies of the executive, his wife, and two children, all stabbed to death. About ¥200,000 in cash was stolen from the victims' residence. Hakamada was interrogated and, in August 1966, he was arrested based on his confession and a tiny amount of blood and gasoline found on a pair of pajamas he owned. According to his lawyers, Hakamada was interrogated a total of 264 hours, for as many as 16 hours a session, over 23 days to obtain the confession. They added that he was denied water or toilet breaks during the interrogation. At his trial, Hakamada retracted the confession, saying police had kicked and clubbed him to obtain it, and pleaded not guilty. .....Prosecutors put aside the pajamas and instead presented five pieces of bloody clothing that were found in a tank at the miso factory in August 1967, 14 months after the crime. They argued that the clothing came from the killer and said police had found the blood types of the victims on the clothing.  They argued that Hakamada must have murdered the family in these clothes and then changed into pajamas to commit the arson.  Hakamada supporters said the case was full of holes, arguing that the alleged murder weapon – a fruit knife with a 12.19-centimetre (4.80 in) blade – could not have withstood the forty stabbings of the victims without sustaining significant damage, and that the pajamas used to justify the arrest had disappeared and been replaced with the bloody clothing. The clothes were too small for Hakamada but the prosecution argued they had shrunk in the miso tank and the label had a "B" or medium size label on it which would have fitted Hakamada. However the B indicated the colour Black not the size. The blood stains on the clothes were too dark and the colour of the clothes too light to have been lying in the miso tank.......After his appeal was denied in 1980, Hakamada obtained a new team of lawyers. In 1981, they filed a request for a retrial, asking for the physical evidence to be re-examined. In the investigation, it was determined the alleged murder weapon was the wrong size to produce the stab wounds, that a door supposedly used to enter the home was actually locked, and that the bloody pants were too small to have been worn by Hakamada. Backed by the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations(JFBA), Hakamada's lawyers concluded the first trial had failed to establish that any of the clothing belonged to him. After 13 years of gathering evidence, the request was heard and denied by the Shizuoka District Court on August 9, 1994.[3] In 2000, an attempt was made to extract DNA from the bloody clothing, but available techniques did not allow for any to be detected. The Tokyo High Court upheld the retrial denial on August 27, 2004....….A 2008 DNA test suggested the blood on the clothing used as evidence did not match Hakamada's, prompting a second retrial request from his lawyers. Further tests in 2011 supported the conclusion. On March 14, 2012, a blood sample was taken from Hakamada for a more accurate DNA test to compare with the blood sample on the shoulder of the T-shirt found among the murderer's clothes. The blood was thought to be that of the attacker, and had been previously determined unlikely to be from any of the victims.The testing revealed that the blood did not match Hakamada's DNA. The prosecution disputed the validity of the DNA tests.…...On March 27, 2014, Hakamada was released from prison and granted a retrial by the Shizuoka District Court. A statement from the court said there was reason to believe evidence had been fabricated in the original trial and that keeping the 78-year-old jailed while waiting on the retrial would have been "unbearably unjust". Amnesty International remarked, "Time is running out for Hakamada to receive the fair trial he was denied more than four decades ago. If ever there was a case that merits a retrial, this is it." A prosecution appeal of the decision to release Hakamada was denied.  Hakamada is the sixth Japanese death row inmate to be granted a retrial. Four of the previous five were eventually acquitted. .....In June 2018, the Tokyo High Court overturned the ruling that had Hakamada released. He was allowed to retain his freedom due to his age until the case returns to the Supreme Court. That August the nation's highest prosecutors' office exhorted the Supreme Court to reject Hakamada's appeal to "stop the situation in which the sentence is suspended unnecessarily"  Wikipedia); 
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: On March 10, 2011, Guinness World Records certified Iowa Hakamada as the world’s longest-held death row inmate. Now 85, the death sentence still hovers over him - even though he has been permitted to  leave prison pending extraordinary appeal-related proceedings - in spite of the scientific evidence showing he is an innocent man, and the enormous pressure that led  him to confess. I do hope that this dark cloud will be lifted as soon as possible in 2022.  HL:
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ISRAEL:  ROMAN ZADOROV: "Tair Rada was murdered inside a bathroom stall at the Nofei Golan School in Katzrin on December 6, 2006. Almost three years later, the Nazareth District Court convicted Roman Zadorov, a foreign citizen and resident of Katzrin, of murdering the girl. The verdict ignored a dense fabric of defense evidence that led to his conviction. Since then, however, the affair has continued to occupy the media and public opinion. Despite the firm verdict - the justice system has discussed it several more times and left the conviction intact. Zadorov, who worked in flooring at Rada's school, was arrested a few days after the murder, confessed to the murder and even reenacted it. He then retracted his confession, and as the trial progressed the defense was able to raise doubts among the public that Zadorov was indeed the killer. Subsequently, the defense presented two new opinions regarding the type of knife with which Rada was murdered as well as the marks that were on her pants. The district court reviewed the opinion, and decided at the end of the day to uphold the conviction. However, Zadorov's defense team appealed to the Supreme Court again and this time Zadorov was again convicted of murder - but only by a majority opinion. Justices Yitzhak Amit and Zvi Zilbertal convicted the defendant, while Judge Yoram Danziger acquitted him out of doubt. A year ago, Zadorov filed another appeal to the Supreme Court. About two months ago, Chief Justice Hanan Meltzer ruled that Zadorov should have a retrial."......(Jerusalem Post: Reporter Eli Ashkenazi; August 26, 2021.)...... "A blow to the prosecution in the Zadorov trial? “It is impossible to determine the size of the shoe by the imprint on the jeans of the late Tair Rada,” retired Chief of Staff Yaron Shur, a shoe imprint expert for the Israel Police, said today (Tuesday) in his testimony in the Nazareth District Court.  testimony was received that the imprint of Zadorov's salamander shoe on Rada's pants was found in the arena. However, during the appeals in the Supreme Cour, doubts arose as to the reliability of the shoe imprint." Time News report: December 21, 2021.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Retrial continues into the New Year. Lots more to come. HL.

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FRANCEL OMAR RADDAD:  "Judges on France’s top appeals court have decided to reopen the case after Mr. Raddad’s lawyers presented new DNA evidence that they say exonerates him in the 1991 killing of his employer, Ghislaine Marchal, in her villa on the Côte d’Azur in southern France  — a killing made famous by a grammatical mistake, the New York Times (Reporter Norimitsu Onishi) reports. (December 16, 2021)... The court ordered an inquiry into an analysis of the new DNA evidence, according to the court’s three-page ruling. It is the first step in what Mr. Raddad’s supporters hope will be a rehearing of his initial trial, 27 years after his conviction."

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Standing by for the report on inquiry into analysis of new DNA evidence. HL;

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NEW ZEALAND: SCOTT WATSON: "Ben Smart and Olivia Hope, two young New Zealanders, disappeared in the early hours of the morning on New Year's Day, 1 January 1998. The two friends had been celebrating on New Year's Eve at Furneaux Lodge in the Marlborough Sounds with other partygoers. The pair accepted an offer from a stranger to stay aboard his yacht in the early hours of the morning. It was the last time they were seen alive and their remains have never been found. The disappearance of the duo sparked one of the most publicised investigations in the history of New Zealand." (Wikipedia)..........."After a five-month investigation, Scott Watson was arrested and charged with the murder of Smart and Hope. "Last year, retired High Court Judge Sir Graham Panckhurst recommended Watson’s case be reconsidered by the Court of Appeal, which the justice minister and governor-general agreed to. Watson asked the Court of Appeal for bail so he could help his lawyers prepare his case for the court, but the application was refused in OctoberThe families of Hope and Smart strongly opposed his release on bail unless his conviction was overturned. Delays with reviews of the complex forensic evidence pushed Watson's appeal out to a two-day beginning August 31 next year." ............"The police investigation that led to Watson's arrest has been criticised in numerous newspaper articles, documentaries and books, particularly Trial by Trickery by Auckland journalist Keith Hunter, a stinging attack on those who put Watson away. Watson and his supporters - the case has long divided public opinion – were given fresh hope in June last year after Justice Minister Andrew Little announced that Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy had referred his case back to the Court of Appeal for a new hearing. It came after an investigation by former High Court judge Sir Graham Panckhurst QC raised concerns about forensic evidence used to convict Watson. "The primary basis of his application was that the DNA evidence linking two hairs removed from a blanket seized from Mr Watson's boat with Ms Hope was unreliable," the Ministry of Justice said. The latest Court of Appeal hearing is scheduled for June next year."

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  Keeping an eye out for documents to be filed  for the latest Court of Appeal hearing, to be heard in June, 2022. HL;

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AUSTRALIA: COLIN MANOCK:  Disgraced former Chief Forensic Pathologist, South Australia; : Pressure is mounting for a 'special inquiry' that probe the South Australian government's breach of public trust by  permitting the unqualified, discredited pathologist to carry out his important responsibilities for so many years. An inquiry is also being sought into the criminal cases he botched,  death investigations he conducted, and inquests he conducted, and the maltreatment of aboriginals during his tenure.  British author, journalist, and  consultant in forensic evidence, Satish C. Sekar, believes it is “only a question of time before a special inquiry is established” into the trail of unsafe forensic reports generated by Dr Colin Manock over his decades long tenure as Chief Forensic Pathologist in South Australia, not least the case of Derek Bromley, still in jail after 37 years. In a letter to the SA Attorney General Vickie Chapman, Sekar urges a proactive approach, echoing earlier calls. 

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Colin Manock is the Charles Smith of Australia  - with one major difference. Manock,  as 'Chief Forensic Pathologist' had enormous power in his nation's death investigative system, - Charles  Smith did not have similar authority - but pretended he had - and therefore was in a position to cause untold harm and wrongful convictions.  Am following developments closely. HL;

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AUSTRALIA: DEREK BROMLEY: "The body of Stephen Docoza, was found floating in the river in Adelaide in April 1984. Following police investigations Bromley was charged and convicted of his murder. He was given the mandatory life sentence with a non-parole period of 32 years – subsequently reduced to 22 years. When he completed that sentence, he was refused parole, because he maintained he had not committed the crime. He remains in prison today, having served over 38 years. By comparison, a man who had murdered a woman and her two young children was given a minimum sentence of 30 years; a person who murdered a young female police officer and injured 22 other people was given a minimum sentence of 28 years (research paper p10)." Dr. Bob Moles: "It is appropriate to inform the person exercising the Attorney-General powers that an application has been made on behalf of Derek Bromley for Special Leave to be granted by the High Court for the purposes of a further appeal."

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Much more to follow  on this compelling case which has taken much of his life away from an innocent man and has sorely tarnished Australia's criminal justice system, HL.

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AUSTRALIA: JESSE VINACCIA:  One of the state’s top forensic paediatricians has admitted she provided incorrect expert evidence in the child homicide prosecution of Jesse Vinaccia, who was jailed after being convicted in 2019 of shaking his girlfriend’s baby to death. The admission by prosecution expert Joanna Tully came as Vinaccia appealed against his conviction on the basis that shaken baby syndrome is pseudoscience. Vinaccia’s legal team has accused the deputy director of the Victorian Forensic Paediatric Medical Service of giving evidence that was “misleading and contrary to her obligations as an expert witness”. Dr Tully has appeared as an expert witness in multiple criminal prosecutions and child protection matters, and is considered one of the nation’s foremost experts on abusive head trauma/shaken baby syndrome. But in the witness box on Thursday, Dr Tully was accused by barrister Richard Edney of providing “false” evidence at Vinaccia’s first murder trial in 2019 when she testified that she had based her evidence on photographs of retinal bleeding in 3Ѕ-month-old baby Kaleb’s eyes................Dr Tully appeared on the seventh day of the appeal, where Vinaccia is challenging the scientific basis of shaken baby syndrome, which has been used for more than 50 years to diagnose and prosecute cases of child abuse and homicide. The Age: 


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Keeping an eye on his appeal - and eagerly awaiting an ultimate decision. The Vinaccia appeal, along with the Joby Rowe and Jesse Harvey appeals (below)  represent a powerful, head-on attack on the so-called 'shaken baby syndrome.' Following closely in 2022. HL: 


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AUSTRALIA:  JOBY ROWE; JESSE  HARVEY: "The Court of Appeal also heard that two other appeals against convictions for child homicide and assault have been filed by the same lawyers representing Vinaccia. Joby Rowe was found guilty of child homicide in 2018 over the death of his three-month-old daughter, Alanah. “Violent shaking with or without impact on a soft surface” was found to be the cause of death based on her internal injuries, with experts testifying there was no other “reasonable explanation”. Rowe denied mistreating the child. Jesse Harvey was convicted of recklessly causing serious injury to his seven-week-old son, Casey, in 2019. He claimed he did not shake or hit Casey, but said the baby bumped his head on the edge of a couch as Harvey sat down. The medical evidence held the child’s internal injuries were equivalent to a 10-metre fall or high-velocity motor vehicle collision." 

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: "The Vinaccia appeal (above) , along with the Joby Rowe and Jesse Harvey appeals (below)  represent a powerful, head-on attack on the so-called 'shaken baby syndrome.' Following closely in 2022. HL: 

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AUSTRALIA: SUSAN NEILL-FRASER: "Susan  Neill-Fraser was convicted of murdering her partner Bob Chappell on Australia Day 2009, on board their yacht, Four Winds. She has maintained her innocence. She has been granted leave to appeal (in March 2019) after a three year process in which then homeless 15 year old Meaghan Vass admitted she was a witness to the murder and Neill-Fraser was not involved. Vass’ DNA was found on the deck."
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I was extremely disappointed - but perhaps not surprised - when Ms. Neill-Fraser recently lost her latest appeal. The good new is that there was a dissenting judge. The bad news is that is spite of a case that cries out innocence, she is still behind bars. I am not sure what the next steps lie ahead in the quest to free and exonerate her, but will do my best to stay on top of developments. HL);
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AUSTRALIA: KATHLEEN FOLBIGG;  "On April Fool's Day 2003, the murder trial for what the national media would call Australia's worst matricidal murder, with Kathleen Folbigg in the dock, began. Mark Tedeschi QC, the state's most senior public prosecutor, "representing the community of NSW" (New South Wales), opened the trial against Folbigg, alleging she had deliberately killed all four of her infant children. By the end of the trial, 29 days later, Tedeschi had convinced the jury of her guilt. The Upper Hunter's Kathleen Folbigg was convicted and sentenced to 40 years jail over the deaths of her four infant children in the decade from 1989. Caleb at 19 days, Patrick at 8 months, Sarah at 10-and-a-half months and Laura at 19 months. The Folbigg convictions stand among the most contentious and troublesome in Australian history, alongside those of Lindy and Michael Chamberlain. Like Lindy Chamberlain, Kathleen Folbigg has always maintained her innocence and has steadfastly pursued every legal avenue to have her convictions set aside. Like Lindy Chamberlain, all Kathleen Folbigg's appeals, including to the High Court, failed." Ray Waterson: Newcastle Herald........"The 2003 conviction of Kathleen Folbigg for the smothering deaths of her four children over a 10-year period branded her Australia’s “worst female serial killer”, despite there never being any evidence to support the supposed cause of death. Almost two decades on, new clinical research and expert evidence shine a light on what really happened and expose crucial flaws in the criminal justice system. Earlier this year, a legal team behind Ms Folbigg circulated a petition containing new research into an unreported cardiac mutation found in two of her children, Sarah and Laura, that explains how they likely died from natural causes. In a development shared with Lawyers Weekly, that mutation has been added to the list of mutations in ClinVar, a worldwide authoritative database used by clinicians and geneticists. Put another way, if the mutation – referred to as the CALM2 G114R gene – is found in an infant who dies without explanation, a genetic counsellor will inform the families that it is the cause of death. Ms Folbigg’s lawyer, Rhanee Rego, said not only would this bring families some certainty, but it would lead to better options for people to start preventative therapy that was not available to Ms Folbigg over two decades ago. “Today, Kathleen, who has the CALM2 G114R mutation but is affected differently by it (given her cardiac history), would be counselled that she could consider having a cardioverter device implanted to avoid having a fatal cardiac arrest,” Ms Rego said, adding that “it’s hard to emphasise just how important [the ClinVar addition] is because it has the capacity to save lives across the world”. In addition to saving countless lives, the addition of CALM2 G114R to ClinVar is an “important breakthrough” for science and solidifies that the two female Folbigg girls died from the lethal mutation, rather than the crimes their mother was convicted for."
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Kathleen Folbigg is caught  in a momentous battle between politicians and scientists. She remains in prison in spite of all of the scientific evidence showing that she did not murder any of her children - that she is an innocent, grieving mother, who has received a terrible deal  from life. I hope that 2022 will see this woman, once regarded as Australia's most notorious female serial killers, freed and exonerated. How this will happen, I will have to leave to the lawyers. For now, however, I can assure you that I will continue to do everything I can to draw attention to her case - and to relay developments to our readers. HL.
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AUSTRALIA: SHANDEE BLACKBURN: "Last week, independent forensic biologist Dr Kirsty Wright reviewed hundreds of forensic files from the murder investigation for The Australian newspaper's podcast series Shandee's Story. She said handling of the case by Queensland Health services was a "forensic train wreck" and joined Ms Blackburn's family in calling for forensic samples to be retested. Addressing the Queensland Parliament this morning, Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said she had written to the Attorney-General calling for the coronial inquiry to be reopened. "Based on the claims made regarding forensic evidence and whether such evidence could lead to new findings, I believe there is sufficient public interest and questions to be addressed to warrant me writing to the Attorney-General to consider requesting the coroner to reopen the matter," Ms D'Ath told the parliament."
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: A public inquiry into this 'forensic train wreck' is clearly called for. But will Queensland's Attorney-General have the political courage to open up this proverbial can of pythons to public scrutiny? I will be watching closely. HL; 
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CANADA: PROPOSED INDEPENDENT CRIMINAL CASE REVIEW COMMISSION:  Tweet:  (Dr. Bob Moles: December 9, 2021); "I am pleased to inform you that the Canadian Commission set up to advise the government on the establishment of a Criminal Case Review Commission has now issued its report and recommendations. They are far reaching and go well beyond anything so far established in other countries. We had recommended in our report to the Commission that the new body work actively in partnership with existing and new Innocence Projects. This is an important recommendation of the Commission which states that it should be able to provide funding to such Innocence Projects to assist them in their important work. I am hopeful that this might provoke some discussion about establishing a similar body in Australia."
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Now that the Canadian Government has received a report and recommendations on establishment of a Criminal Review Commission, all eyes will be on Justice Minister David Lametti for his response. Minister Lametti has been provided with a hard-hitting, far-reaching set of recommendations. I am eagerly looking forward to his response - and will promptly share it with you, my readers. HL;
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CANADA: THE SISTERS: ODLIA AND NERISSA QUEWEZANCE:  Sisters Odelia and Nerissa Quewezance were sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder in 1994 for the death of 70-year-old Anthony Joseph Dolff in Kamsack, Sask. Odelia is currently in a federal healing lodge and Nerissa is in custody on B.C.’s lower mainland. Nerissa wasn’t able to attend the Zoom conference Friday but sent a text message statement through wrongfully convicted advocate David Milgaard.m “I am tired and want the nightmare to end,” said Nerissa. David Milgaard - who spent almost 23 years in prison after he was wrongfully convicted in 1970 of raping and murdering Saskatoon nurse Gail Miller - called on Saskatchewan Justice Minister Gord Wyant and Canada’s Justice Minister David Lemitti to do the right thing and immediately release the Quewezance sisters............................Nicole Porter, advocate for Indigenous Rights and wrongfully convicted said Saskatchewan’s racist system rushed for a conviction in the 90’s. She said the sisters were Indigenous and rural Saskatchewan racism was against them. “These girls were downright mistreated by our system. During the police interrogation and even after their sentencing, being Indigenous was a factor held against them.” Porter said the mistreatment started from day one. A justice of the peace had issued remand warrants ordering that the sisters be remanded to Pine Grove Correctional Centre for women but instead they were held for five days by Saskatchewan RCMP and interrogated. Porter said no recordings of those interrogations were saved and the interrogations went against the remand warrant. “Authorities at the time directly disobeyed and continued to interrogate them.” Porter said there is no physical evidence against the sisters and pointed out that during their trial in the 90’s, the jury didn’t include one Indigenous person. “Because of the systemic racism, they were out for a pound of flesh and they got their conviction. Porter said when Nerissa was first sent to prison she was sent to Saskatchewan Penitentiary maximum-security prison for men. “She was forced to share living quarters with men,” said Porter. “That boggles my mind and angers me. I can only imagine the horrors she faced and the other young Indigenous women who were thrown into a situation that that.” Now, years later, the sisters’ case still hasn’t been reviewed, said Porter. “Why they have not reviewed their case officially is beyond me. It is time they go home. This is a gross miscarriage of justice.
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: We learn from APTN News that Innocence Canada  has agreed agreed to add the Quewezance sisters to its roster of wrongful conviction cases. In another development, on December 16th, Nerissa was granted day parole in a step which lawyer James Lockyer calls an important step towards her freedom and her belief in herself. Odelia, her younger sister continues to serve her term in a healing lodge. Per APTN News: Lockyer, who will remain lead attorney, recently asked Saskatchewan Justice to consider substituting the sisters’ second-degree conviction for manslaughter, and releasing them for time served. He said he will also ask B.C. Justice to withdraw its unlawfully-at-large charges against Nerissa for breaching parole. “I’ve told the sisters I’m going to have them out next year – in 2022,” he said Thursday. “I don’t often make statements like that but I’m going to have them out. “I’m not letting go of this one…it’s a priority for me because it’s such a miscarriage of justice.” I am eagerly awaiting the minister's response, and will relay developments to you. HL.
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CANADA: JEFF SMITH: ONTARIO: A former doctor Charles Smith  case; He is the subject of the CBC 'Fifth Estate' documentary 'Diagnosis Murder' which profiles parents considered wrongly convicted of shaking their babies to death, As reported by Reporter Jillian Follert on December 10, 2013: "His case is well-known in Canada and was recently the subject of a CBC Fifth Estate documentary called Diagnosis Murder, which profiles parents considered wrongly convicted of shaking their babies to death.........The child’s sudden death was closely scrutinized and a pathologist report concluded she died of a brain hemorrhage. There was also evidence of brain swelling and bleeding behind the eyes. At that time, the three symptoms automatically pointed to shaken baby syndrome, as far as many doctors and pathologists were concerned. In July 1994, Mr. Smith was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. He stood trial in 1996, was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 18 months in jail......... In the years that followed Mr. Smith’s conviction, researchers began to challenge assumptions about shaken baby syndrome, arguing that symptoms such as brain hemorrhage can also be caused by infection or trauma at birth. He is currently working with the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (Innocence Canada), in the hope of one day being exonerated."
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: This is one of the three outstanding Charles Smith  cases of which I am aware. Innocence Canada has been working on the case for years. I hope there will truly be positive developments to report - and  that Jeff Smith will be exonerated in 2022. HL;
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CANADA: JENNIFER GASKIN: (ONTARIO)  (A former doctor Charles Smith case.) As reported  in The Toronto Star by Reporter Marco Chown Oved  On February 3, 2014: " In 2002, she was convicted of manslaughter in the shaken baby death of her infant son, Joeseph — a crime she says she did not commit...................................... Gaskin was 23 years old and already had an 11-month-old daughter when she delivered Joeseph, 9½ weeks prematurely, in April 1999. Both mother and daughter had health complications after the birth and Gaskin confided that raising two babies while her boyfriend worked was extremely trying. At one point, she admits to having thought about giving her babies up for adoption. When Joeseph was less than three months old, Gaskin took him out with her boyfriend, Dale Jones, to a Chinese food restaurant in the northwestern Ontario town of Ignace. Joeseph was getting cranky, so Jones took him home. At home, Jones would testify in court, Joeseph stopped breathing and turned blue. Despite repeated attempts to revive him, the baby would be pronounced dead in hospital less than an hour later. In an autopsy, Dr. David Welbourne suspected some shaking may have occurred but concluded Joeseph died of a head injury. Police then called in a second opinion, and solicited Dr. William Halliday, a pathologist at Sick Kids Hospital. Halliday concluded that injuries found on Joeseph’s brain occurred during three separate time periods before his death: two weeks, two to three days and 12 hours. Police then charged Gaskin with second-degree murder, alleging she had “exclusive opportunity” to have injured Joeseph at these times. She was later convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to two years less a day in prison."

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: This is one of the three  outstanding Charles Smith cases of which I am aware. Innocence Canada has been working on the case for years. I hope there will truly be positive developments to report - and  that  Jennifer Gaskin will be exonerated in 2022. HL;

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CANADA: BERNARD DOYLE:  (A former doctor Charles Smith case); "Marco Chown Oved reports in the article referred to above: "Gaskin and Doyle’s cases share remarkable similarities. In both, a baby died suddenly and doctors suspected mistreatment.  Both autopsies found brain and optical nerve hemorrhaging that doctors concluded must be the result of shaking — conclusions that have come under renewed scrutiny. Police also conducted aggressive and lengthy interviews with both suspects, so much so that the trial judge for Gaskin ruled her interview inadmissible. ..................“I’m of the opinion that both of them may well have been convicted of crimes they did not commit,” said Lockyer. (Lawyer James Lockyer: Innocence Canada):   Gaskin and Doyle served their time behind bars and are back in their communities, but the convictions continue to plague their lives.  Gaskin lost custody of her two other children, while Doyle isn’t allowed to be alone with his. Both maintain their innocence."
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: This is one of the three outstanding Charles Smith  cases of which I am aware. Innocence Canada has been working on the case for years. I hope there will truly be positive developments to report - and  that Bernard Doyle will be exonerated in 2022. HL;
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CANADA: FORMER HOMICIDE DETECTIVE PAUL WORDEN: ONTARIO: Police/evidence/theft; Homicide officer stole from evidence rooms for years.  "In September, nine months after his thefts were uncovered, Worden found himself back under questioning, this time inside a downtown Toronto courtroom. From retirement, he was testifying at a pre-trial motion in a homicide case he had, at one time, been investigating. The case, the November 2018 fatal shooting of Cardinal Licorish, had been one of the two homicide investigations from which Worden had admitted he’d taken drugs — in that case, three or four Percocet pills. The second-degree murder charge against the accused has since been withdrawn; that man’s defence lawyer, Monte MacGregor, said Worden’s actions likely did not influence the Crown’s decision to withdraw the charge, though they may have become an issue at trial. In cross-examination, MacGregor asked Worden about his sudden departure from Toronto police, putting to Worden that he was “actively committing an obstruction of justice” by taking drugs from a homicide case. “I didn’t really think it at the time,” Worden replied, “but I did it, yes.”  MacGregor later told the Star it was “just wrong” to give preferential treatment to a police officer because his actions were spurred by addiction, however tragic that may be. The justice system is premised on equality under the law, he said. The heart-wrenching role of drug addiction is something that can and should be taken into consideration by the justice system — after guilt has been established, during decisions about sentencing, MacGregor said. “I question whether or not my clients would have been afforded the latitude” of being spared charges because of addiction, he said. “Because that does not happen,” he said. “It just does not happen.”
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I have a gut feeling that there will be some loose ends to report in the coming year - and will therefore be watching. HL.
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CANADA: BABY ALEX; ONTARIO:  It's a tale of two parents of a dead child caught in a battle among officials in Ontario's Coroner's system.  Their remaining two children were taken from them for more than twenty months before returning them. The forensic pathologist has launched legal proceedings against Ontario's Death Investigation Oversight Council. It'd an ugly mess that will undoubtedly rear its ugly head in 2021. When it does, we will be there. (Death Investigation Oversight Council (DIOC) is an independent advisory agency that oversees coroners and forensic pathologists in Ontario. The council provides advice and makes recommendations to the Chief Coroner and the Chief Forensic Pathologist on matters that include: financial resource management.)
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: The Ontario  Death Investigation Council is a highly decretive body - charged with over-seeing death investigations in Ontario - that appears, at least to me, to be very protective of the establishment it is supposed to over-see. Hopefully, the legal proceedings at the core of this case - will shed some necessary light on how it exercise its responsibility of protecting the public. I wait with great interest. HL.
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UNITED KINGDOM: EAST KENT HOSPITALS: An estimated 200 baby deaths in East Kent hospital over a period of just four years. That is utterly numbing.  When four babies were reported to have died in the cardiac ward of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto -  between July 1980 and March 1981 - the city went into a state of shock, which reverberated throughout the entire country. The thought of 4 dead babies - and the blow to their respective families - is devastating. 200 dead babies is unthinkable. I will be following developments closely. So much more to make one weep. I hope the story will be picked up by others far beyond Britain's borders. As the Independent reports, the UK has experienced a crisis in its maternity wards for years before East Kent - and not much has changed. Perhaps international attention will lead to lasting reform (this time)  and help save baby's lives." Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog...After it emerged the NHS trust may have had up to 15 preventable baby deaths, an independent review led by Dr Bill Kirkup was announcedThe investigation is looking at nearly 200 births at the trust and is not due to report until late in 2022."... "Speaking of hospitals, the East Kent Hospitals University Trust – which runs three of Kent's biggest hospitals in Canterbury, Margate and Ashford – had another torrid year. In April, it pleaded guilty to the unsafe care and treatment of a baby which resulted in his tragic death. Harry Richford died following a traumatic birth involving a catalogue of failures by medics at the QEQM Hospital in Margate in November 2017."

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Police have formally announced that they have dropped their investigation into the estimate 200 baby deaths in East Kent Hospital over the last four years. However, as reported, "After it emerged the NHS trust may have had up to 15 preventable baby deaths, an independent review led by Dr Bill Kirkup was announcedThe investigation is looking at nearly 200 births at the trust and is not due to report until late in 2022." I will be following this investigation closely. HL.

MORE EAST KENT:  The  two mothers infected with Herpes: Kim Sampson and Samantha Mulcahy: More than a year after the women died, their families each received a letter from the coroner, Katrina Hepburn, saying there would be no inquests into their deaths. The letters acknowledged there had been a similar case but said there was "no connection" between the two deaths. They also set out the investigating pathologist's belief that the women had been infected with herpes "prior to hospital admission" But BBC journalists who have been investigating the East Kent Hospitals Trust's maternity services since 2019 turned their attention to the deaths of Kimberly and Samantha in the spring of this year. While reviewing documents sent to the families, they found Public Health England (PHE) had looked into how the women could have come into contact with the herpes viruses. Kimberly's family requested PHE gave them access to that investigation, and were sent redacted emails sent between staff at PHE, East Kent Hospitals Trust, other NHS bodies and a private laboratory called Micropathology. The emails showed PHE's investigation continued even after the coroner told the families no inquests would be taking place. The emails also revealed a significant link between the two deaths: that the same surgeon and midwife had taken part in both Kimberly's and Samantha's C-sections. Micropathology was asked to examine the two viruses the women had been infected with, to see if they were genetically identical and could have come from the same place. The emails show the parts of the virus that were tested were identical. In one email, someone working for Micropathology said both cases "look like surgical contamination". 

STORY: "Inquest opens into deaths of new mums Kim Sampson and Samantha Mulcahy who died after being infected with herpes,"  by Reporter Brad Ha


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UNITD KINGDOM: PATHOLOGIST:  MICHAEL HEATH; The Surrey Live story describes 'Dr. Heath's fall from grace.' The fact however how that Heath has been buoyed up by his colleagues in the medical profession who found that his  fitness to practice is not impaired. Instead of placing him on the sidelines - where he belongs - he was allowed to continue practicing subject to conditions, which are meaningless  if his incompetence is shielded from public view and  tolerated by his peers, who have not even required to submit to a hearing before a public tribunal. Not yet, anyway. How much harm has he caused to 'love ones' who seek important answers in their grief - and perhaps is  continuing to cause? Hang in there, dear readers. This Blog is watching the disgraced pathologist  closely. We all should..................Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog................ "Dr. Heath's fall from Grace: "The General Medical Council (GMC) found Dr Heath guilty of serious misconduct in 2009 but found his fitness to practise was not impaired. The interim orders tribunal in March this year saw Dr Heath, who has carried out numerous examinations as part of high-profile cases, become subject to seven interim conditions, including that he must only work on reports of his previous examinations (prior to March 10, 2021). Meanwhile, the GMC is examining evidence brought against Dr Heath which could lead to a referral for a full tribunal hearing. At present although Dr Heath is under investigation, he remains GMC registered with a licence to practise – subject to the conditions. A Surrey's Coroner Service spokesperson said: "The Coroner has written to the family to explain that once an inquest is closed, a coroner cannot amend or change their findings or conclusions, and that the only way forward for the family is to challenge the coroner's findings/conclusions in the senior courts by way of an appeal."
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am following proceedings launched against Michael Heath  by  The General Medical Council - his licensing body -as well as a particular controversy: "Relatives are now asking how Dr Michael Heath was able to carry out the work, on behalf of the Surrey Coroner's Office, despite previous questions over the reliability of his evidence leading to two murder convictions being quashed." Lot of grist for our mill in 2022. HL);
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UNITD KINGDOM: AFTERMATH; TECHNOLOGY: THE POSTMASTERS SCANDAL: United Kingdom: Technology: Aftermath: The Postmasters case; "The British Post Office scandal is a major British business, legal, ethncal and political scandal involving the prosecution by the Post Office of hundreds of sub-postmasters for alleged theftfalse accounting and/or fraud, resulting in criminal convictions, imprisonment, loss of reputation and livelihood, bankruptcy, divorce, and even suicide amongst those involved.[1][2][3][4] The Post Office has a single shareholder, the British Government.[5] Subsequent to a press outcry and later investigations, sub-postmasters (SPMs) convicted of criminal offences had their convictions declared unsafe, obtained unlawfully,[6][7] and quashed.[8][9] As of 2021, the government promised financial compensation to the victims of the scandal,[10] which has been described as one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in British history. Wikipedia:  British_Post_Office_scandal;
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: What a mess! Unanswered questions galore. When a truly independent inquiry goes into action the Blog will be there - and I will also be following outstanding compensation claims,  outstanding criminal probes, and resolution, if any, of accountability issues at the heart of this giant scandal which hurt so many utterly innocent postal service 'masters' and their families. HL. PS: So much grist for the Charles Smith Blog mill.HL;
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UNITED KINGDOM: RANDOX LABS SCANDAL: NORTHERN IRELAND: "Greater Manchester Police today confirmed that a long-running investigation into alleged data manipulation is still ongoing. In January 2017, RTS reported ‘irregularities’ at its lab in Manchester to the police and two men were subsequently arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice. In December 2018, the National Police Chiefs’ Council issued an update to say more than 10,500 cases involving 42 different forces had been identified as potentially being affected by the issue. The majority of the cases involved drug-driving, but other cases including sex offences, road deaths and family court hearings have also been affected. The NPCC said in December 2018 that 40 road traffic convictions had already been overturned and 50 similar cases discontinued by the CPS after 2,700 cases were revisited. The alleged activity occurred between 2011 and 2017 at the Hexagon Tower testing centre, which was first run by the now-defunct Trimega Laboratories before RTS took over the site from 2014. In June this year, a High Court application by Greater Manchester Police revealed 27,000 cases appeared to have been affected. Randox said today the number of samples potentially affected within their laboratory and subject to review was approximately 10,500, as stated by the NPCC in December 2018. A judgement on the application, relating to access to materials connected to the criminal investigation, said: “The forensics analysed hair, blood, and urine for quantities of illegal substances, and the results provided, some of which were falsified, were used in in criminal, family, coronial or employment cases. “The investigation has uncovered 27,000 reports which appear to have been affected, and therefore the potential injustices which have occurred as a result of the data manipulation are many and serious.” The judgement said it was alleged data manipulation practices had occurred “for the purposes of ensuring rapid accreditation by the regulator, UKAS, by which the company could provide its forensics services to the police forces, thereby gaining commercial advantage over competitors”. It added: “The object was therefore to raise the value of the company by gaining a larger market share. “This data manipulation dates back almost a decade and takes a variety of forms, including copying results and quality assurance data from one sample and pasting it into another, as well as manipulating quality controls and suitability tests, and falsifying identification of drugs and validation data.”
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I will be keeping an eye - and reporting - on this long-running drug lab data-manipulation  investigation  of huge dimensions. Huge?... "Police revealed 27,000 cases appeared to have been affected. Randox said today the number of samples potentially affected within their laboratory and subject to review was approximately 10,500, as stated by the NPCC in December 2018. A judgement on the application, relating to access to materials connected to the criminal investigation, said: “The forensics analysed hair, blood, and urine for quantities of illegal substances, and the results provided, some of which were falsified, were used in in criminal, family, coronial or employment cases. “The investigation has uncovered 27,000 reports which appear to have been affected, and therefore the potential injustices which have occurred as a result of the data manipulation are many and serious.” This  scandal  could well will likely go into history as one of the most notorious drug lab scandals of all times. Let's seee where it leads us in 2022. HL;
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UNITED KINGDOM: AFTERMATH: DAVID FULLER (THE MORGUE MONSTER; KENT AND SUSSEX HOSPITAL HOSPITAL: 

BACKGROUND: (From a previous post; December 15, 2021): David Fuller: UK; Kent and Sussex Hospital:  Question of the day:  Why did this  hospitals fail to protect at least 100 women and girls from a double murderer who sexually abused the dead in two of its morgues  without being caught over 12 years?   (BBC News Reporter Amanda Akass)..."The son of one of Fuller's victims told the BBC he was left "disgusted" after hearing she had been raped by him.  Fuller, who murdered Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce in 1987, will be sentenced on Wednesday.  The victim's son, who does not wish to be identified, told how two police family liaison officers knocked on his door to tell him the news.  He said: "I'm absolutely disgusted. It's like losing her all over again. It's terrible. "I still haven't been able to cry over it.  "I'm just glad my dad wasn't alive to see it.” The double murderer who sexually abused the dead The man said support from the police had been "superb" but he questioned how hospital electrician Fuller was able to carry out the scale of abuse." ...PASSAGE OF THE DAY: "Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust chief executive Miles Scott said in a statement: 'I would like to apologise once again for the hurt that has been caused to families as a result of these appalling crimes." 'We will make any further improvements recommended from the independent inquiry and we have undertaken a risk assessment of our mortuary including assuring ourselves against existing Human Tissue Authority guidance."... 'STORY:  "Morgue monster will die behind bars: David Fuller who called himself 'Necro Lord' and murdered two women then raped corpses of more than 100 women aged 9-100 is given TWO whole life orders - as families say loved ones were 'robbed of dignity in death', by Reporter Jamie Phillips, Published by The Daily Mail, on December 15, 2021... KEY POINTS: David Fuller admitted 1987 murders of Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, in Tunbridge Wells last month

  • Pervert sexually abused at least 102 victims aged between nine and 100, of which 82 have been identified
  • Police found 14 million images of sex offences during a search of his family home in Heathfield, East Sussex
  • Fuller also filmed himself committing sexual acts on corpses at hospitals, where he worked as electrician
  • Families of victims have been giving impact statements during sentencing hearing at Maidstone Crown Court
  • Handed a whole life sentence after admitting murders of Wendy and Caroline and sexually assaulting the bodies of women and girls in hospital mortuaries.-
PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  These horrific, nightmarish, ghoulish crimes committed over many years raise a question which demands an answer from an independent, public inquiry. Why did the hospital system fail to  stop Fuller from committing these atrocities in his tracks for so many years  - and what confidence can the public have effective measures have been put in place to other from others who, like Fuller, we're attracted to committing these grizzly crimes? Stay tuned!  HL);
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UNITED KINGDOM: ABDELBASET  AL-MEGRAHI: PAN AM FLIGHT 103: SCOTLAND: "Appeal judges in Edinburgh have rejected an attempt to take an appeal against the Lockerbie bomber to the UK's highest court. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted over the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in December 1988. In January, Court of Appeal judges rejected a third appeal against his conviction, which was made by his son. In this latest action his family sought permission to take the appeal to the UK Supreme Court. Megrahi is the only person to have been convicted over the bombing. All 259 passengers and crew on board the flight were killed, along with 11 people in Lockerbie who died when the wreckage fell onto their homes. Former Libyan intelligence officer Megrahi was found guilty in 2001 of mass murder and jailed for life with a minimum term of 27 years. The latest legal bid, asking permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court, was refused by five Scottish judges.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Aamer Anwar, the family's lawyer, has said they would now seek leave to appeal directly to the UK Supreme Court, the final court of appeal for the case. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi protested his innocence from the outset - and his many followers make a strong, compelling case of his innocence e in a case that just won't go away.  I will be following these proceedings closely. HL.

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HAWAII: ALBERT IAN SCHWEIZER:  "A mainland non-profit, Judges for Justice (JFJ), is again taking up the case of the 1991 brutal rape-murder of 23-year-old Dana Ireland in Puna on the Big Island, suggesting the 3 men convicted were not the killers. It took 3 years of Big Island police investigation (but not a match of a 2nd party’s DNA from a shirt by Ireland’s body) to bring to court and convict Frank Pauline and two brothers, Albert Ian Schweitzer and Shawn Schweitzer. Pauline was killed in a New Mexico prison in 2015. Albert Ian Schweitzer is serving a life sentence with a minimum term of 130 years in prison. Shawn Schweitzer, who was 16 when the crime occurred, became a witness for the state and was sentenced to five years probation and a year in jail for manslaughter. In a flyer sent around this week to Hawaii residents, Judges for Justice says “In our documentary, MURDER IN HAWAII, we describe the facts of the crime. We examine key evidence, including the testimony of four eyewitnesses who were never called to give evidence at either trial. We explain how the killer – the only man who left his DNA on Dana Ireland and on a bloody T-shirt found at the crime scene – could be captured today, 30 years later. (That documentary is available in video installments at judgesforjustice.org) Episode 2 describes holes in the evidence in the case, including eight-inch-wide American Spirit brand tire tracks left at both crime scenes (where she was run down on her bike and where her body was found), a bite mark on her breast, and a blood-soaked T-shirt left by the body. Two eyewitnesses saw a shirtless man put a body into the back of a 1970s Datsun pickup truck. Frank Pauline confessed to the murder and said Albert Ian and Shawn Schweitzer helped him. Pauline said Albert Ian Schweitzer was driving his 1957 Volkswagen Bug and ran over Dana Ireland. The three men put her into the VW trunk. Those VW tired did not match either the tire tracks at the scene or what the two witnesses said they saw.And none of the men matched the 2nd party DNA on the bloody T-shirt found with the body. Then Pauline recanted his confession. Then the prosecution’s star witness, Michael Ortiz, claimed that Schweitzer confessed to him while they were both locked up in the Hilo jail, saying he accidentally had run over Dana Ireland while driving his VW bug with his brother, Shawn, and Frank Pauline. Three witnesses testified that the bloody blue T-shirt found next to Dana Ireland’s dying body belonged to Frank Pauline. that was enough for the jury. But in 2007, new “touch DNA” tests of the T-shirt indicated it was not Pauline’s. Those new-technique tests of the shirt were locked up by court order in 2009. Judges for Justice suggests the real killer is still out there. They say: “We see how we can combine FBI profiling with the available evidence to identify the real killer of Dana Ireland. Since the 1970s, the FBI has investigated, consulted on or studied thousands of sexual homicides. The evidence, along with FBI profiling, tells us the killer lived near Dana’s sister Sandy Ireland. The killer knew Dana Ireland and she knew him. He may have had dark circles under his eyes, and he roamed the neighborhood at night spying on Dana. He can be caught today, almost 30 years since the 1991 murder. Just last month, the State Intermediate Court of Appeals ruled that Hilo Circuit Judge Henry Nakamoto erred when he denied JFJ a hearing on a motion to unseal post-conviction DNA testing conducted on the T-shirt. The appellate court also overturned an order by Nakamoto that Judges for Justice pay more than $17,000 in legal fees . So far, there’s been no hearing and the new-technique findings on the shirt have not been released. Who are these JFJ judges? They are real jurists, but retired. Judge Michael Heavey (ret.) appointed to be a Washington Superior Court judge in 2000. Retired from the bench in 2013 and co-founded Judges for Justice with Judge Peter Deegan (ret.) of Michigan. Judge Jay V. White (ret.) – Elected to the Washington Superior Court in 1996, re-elected four times, retired in 2014. Beverly Brooks – Case Manager. Received her JD from Seattle University Law School and is a criminal defense attorney in Washington state."


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: A fascinating battle on behalf of Albert Ian Schweizer is being waged by a fascinating group (Judges for Justice) as detailed above. These retired judges recently won a victory in court: As noted above: "Just last month, the State Intermediate Court of Appeals ruled that Hilo Circuit Judge Henry Nakamoto erred when he denied JFJ a hearing on a motion to unseal post-conviction DNA testing conducted on the T-shirt. The appellate court also overturned an order by Nakamoto that Judges for Justice pay more than $17,000 in legal fees . So far, there’s been no hearing and the new-technique findings on the shirt have not been released. I will be keeping an eye out for  the hearing on the motion to unseal post-conviction DNA testing conducted on the T-shirt, which has now been sanctioned by the Court -  and I look forward to publishing the new=techniques findings on the shirt, as they become available. HL;


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PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. 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: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com.  Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;
FINAL WORD:  (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases):  "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices."
Lawyer Radha Natarajan:
Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;
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FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions.   They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!
Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;
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FINAL, FINAL, FINAL WORD: "It is incredibly easy to convict an innocent person, but it's exceedingly difficult to undo such a devastating injustice. 
Jennifer Givens: DirectorL UVA Innocence Project.