Thursday, June 2, 2022

Seasonal Break! (Long overdue!) Back soon dear readers: Harold Levy. Publisher. The Charles Smith Blog.

PUBLISHER'S  NOTE: Every once and a while (indeed, it has been quite a while since the last one) I take a seasonal break, and give The Charles Smith Blog a well-deserved rest. The Blog is now in its 15th year. The  first post, which  ran on December 29, 2007, was headed "Goudge Inquiry: Testimony of Dr. John Butt," and  was highlighted by the following quote; "People who dabble in it (forensic pathology), can get themselves into difficulty, into problems." My lead was: "How could Dr. Charles Smith have had such a disastrous impact on Ontario's criminal justice system?" Confession time! (A bit of history on the origins of The Charles Smith Blog.) After more than two decades, at the Toronto Star, I had been forced to retire because of an Ontario  law - which mandated requirement when one turned 65. So when I turned 65 on November 1, 2006, it was game over. I was out.  (That law was changed 12 days later!) I would never have welcomed retirement at any age, because I loved my work at the Star. I had been working on exposing Charles Smith (among others)  for almost a decade -  and when forced to retire, my work wasn't finished. (There are still innocent persons seeking exoneration in  Canada's  justice system (which I am following closely)  today)!  Most of all, the independent Gouge Inquiry into many of Smith' cases  had been established (largely as a result of my Toronto Star reporting) and I really wanted to be there. So, I made a plan.  I decided to create 'The Charles Smith Blog', and then apply to Justice Goudge  for standing, which would not only give me access as a journalist to the sessions, but would provide me with all of the documents and materials (a treasure chest for future reporting) that were made available to the press.  It worked, and the rest is history. Except for the fact that once I started the Blog I  couldn't stop! The inquiry became a huge source of posts for years, and before long I began to expand the Blog beyond Smith into  areas involving flawed pathology and flawed pathologists - and the number of readers grew exponentially. Indeed, the last time I checked, as of today, I have published almost 10,000 posts (9822 to  be exact), and I am moving towards three million page visits!  (2,793, 609). Yikes! (Which is not bad for a Blog that began with a very narrow focus on paediatric forensic pathology!)  Thanks Time: My thanks to the many 'bots' which roam nightly throughout  the cybersphere keeping an eye out for references to the cases and issues  I ask them to follow.  Their 'catch' is waiting for me every morning. My thanks as well, to those 'humans' around the Globe who keep me up to date with developments (cases, issues, controversies, battles for reform etc) in the   fascinating world of forensic science - where there have been so many important developments in the past 15 years of interest to me and the readers of this Blog. Particular reference to Bob Moles and Bibi Sangha (Australia), Brian (Ontario)   and someone who's name I only know from his non-descript username  and email address (which don't tell me very much)  but like the others, has provided me with valuable, insightful input  to the Blog  (and great support) over the years, which is much appreciated. In another development,  I have expanded my focus to include other notorious forensic pathologists (and  forensic science 'actors'   such as Annie Dookhan  and Sonja Farak, who have like Charles Smith, had a disastrous impact on their respective criminal justice systems, and ruined the lives of so many innocent people. This expansive reporting has included Colin Manock (Australia), and Michael Heath (USA). Wind-up: Over the years, I have been using this Blog to follow cases that raise noteworthy forensic issues - and often reek of injustice -  so that readers can stay on top of developments. (There have been so many - mainly bad - developments in the past 15  years, But the fight to reform flawed forensics goes on!)  What makes the Blog unique, is the fact that many of the cases I am currently following  are from jurisdictions outside of North America -   including Japan, Israel, France,  Australia, New Zealand, and Cyprus,  The UK and Hawaii. So that's all for now. I'll be back soon.  In the meantime, please keep me up to date with your ideas, suggestions and  comments -  and information on  new and on-going cases and issues   (and relayed whatever's)  - at  Something is always happening in the terribly flawed, ever-changing  world of forensic pathology covered by  "the Charles Smith Blog.' which I am trying in my own way to make  better, fairer, and  evidence-based.  I will catch-up  with matters that I have missed during this long-overdue break on my return.  Be well, dear readers. So much grist for our mill! Au revoir!

Harold Levy; Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog.

PS: Here is the link to that  very first post:

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: Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:  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;


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;