Author Topic: Dr.Charles Randal Smith: Disgraced Forensic Pathologist  (Read 16312 times)


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Dr.Charles Randal Smith: Disgraced Forensic Pathologist
« on: November 29, 2010, 04:32:25 PM »
Dr. Charles Smith

Charles Randal Smith is a Canadian pathologist who was the head pediatric forensic pathologist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, from 1982 to 2003. The quality of his autopsies, and the resulting criminal charges and convictions of several people, have been called into question and a full public inquiry was ordered. The inquiry found there to be fundamental errors made on the part of Smith and many of the cases in which he had testified are now being re-examined and appealed.

Dr.Smith was responsible for the wrongful convictions of many Canadians.  Here are a few examples:

Un-named 12 year oldLianne ThibeaultMaureen Laidley

Maureen Laidley was charged with killing Tyrell Salmon, the three-year-old son of her boyfriend.[3] Laidley says the boy had jumped off the couch, slipped and struck his head on a marble coffee table, but was arrested after Smith informed them that such injuries could not result in death. The charge was abruptly stayed when outside experts testified that the injuries were fully consistent with Laidley's account.[3]

William Mullins-JohnsonSherry Sherret

On the morning of January 23, 1996, Sherry Sherret found her four month old son Joshua lying in his bed not breathing.[6] He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Three and a half years later she was given the option to accept a plea of infanticide. She was convicted of infanticide without offering a defence (but offering no admission of guilt) in a plea (the delay was primarily attributable to Smith's unavailability to testify). Sherret was jailed on the basis of Smith's opinion that her four-month-old son Joshua had a skull fracture, and that he had been smothered. She was released on bail in 1996 and remained on bail until the conviction. Sherret's sentence was 1 year in jail and 2 years probation. Sherret served eight months in total, and was entered into the child abuse registry.[6] Her older child was removed by Children's Aid, and in order to get him out of foster care, she agreed to give him up for adoption and have no physical contact with him until he was 18.[6] Later exhumation of the child and examination of the skull have shown that there was no skull fracture. It is thought Dr. Smith confused the normal gap between the baby's skull plates for an injury.[7] On Dec. 7, 2009, the Ontario Court of Appeal exonerated Sherret, stating that it was "profoundly regrettable that due to flaws in pathological evidence" she was wrongfully convicted. [8]

Brenda Waudby

Brenda Waudby of Peterborough was charged with beating her 2-year-old daughter Jenna to death on January 22, 1997, on the basis of Smith's professional opinion as to what time the injuries were inflicted.[4]

[edit] Anthony Kporwodu and Angela Veno
Anthony Kporwodu and Angela Veno were charged in 1997 with murdering their infant son. Smith took more than seven months to prepare his initial autopsy report. The charges were ultimately thrown out by a judge for violating the constitutional right to a timely trial.[9]

Louise ReynoldsOUTCOME
In 2002, Smith was reprimanded with a caution by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons for his work on three suspicious-death cases, and in 2003 he was removed from performing autopsies.[12]

In July 2005 he resigned from Sick Children's Hospital to take up a position at Saskatoon City Hospital in Saskatchewan. He failed to mention to his new employers that he was under investigation for misconduct in Ontario. In December 2005 he was dismissed. He successfully appealed, but was not reinstated because he was not licenced to practise in Saskatchewan.[13] He then pled guilty to a charge of unprofessional conduct laid by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan, for his failure to disclose that he was under investigation in Ontario.[14]

In June 2005, the Chief Coroner of Ontario ordered a review of 44 autopsies carried out by Smith. Thirteen of these cases had resulted in criminal charges and convictions. The report was released in April 2007, indicating that there were substantial problems with 20 of the autopsies.

In response to this report, Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant announced that there would be a full public inquiry into the state of pediatric forensic pathology in Ontario. The Goudge Inquiry began hearing evidence on November 12, 2007.[15] Justice Goudge's report, released in October 1, 2008 concluded that there were serious problems with the way suspicious deaths involving children are handled in Ontario. He pointed to the problems that had been found with the 20 or so problematic cases that Charles Smith had handled as evidence of serious problems in the Ontario system.[14]

Smith has yet to face charges or civil damages for his apparent negligence.



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Re: Dr.Charles Randal Smith: Disgraced Forensic Pathologist
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2010, 05:00:45 PM »

Dr. Charles Smith: The man behind the public inquiry

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dr. Charles Smith was long regarded as one of Canada's best in forensic child pathology. A public inquiry was called after an Ontario coroner's inquiry questioned Smith's conclusions in 20 of 45 child autopsies. On a typical case, he might have to decide whether a child had been shaken to death or accidentally fallen from a highchair. Dr. Charles Smith was once considered top-notch in his field of forensic child pathology. In 1999, a Fifth Estate documentary singled him out as one of four Canadians with this rare expertise.Acted more like a prosecutor

Some have accused Smith of taking on a role larger than pathologist. The lawyer for Brenda Waudby said he was on a crusade and acted more like a prosecutor. Waudby was convicted in the murder of her daughter after Smith analyzed the case.  Brenda Waudby was wrongly accused of killing her 21-month-old daughter Jenna in 1997.  A pubic-like hair found on her daughter disappeared during Smith's investigation. It was discovered he had kept the hair in his office before police found it five years later. In the end, the charges against Waudby were dropped and the child's babysitter was convicted.

Smith said he had a passion for uncovering the truth in child deaths. The Ontario pathologist told media lampooning him he had "a thing against people who hurt children." He welled up when speaking about a mother looking for the cause of her baby's death.  Smith had been in search of his own personal truths. He was born in a Toronto Salvation Army hospital where he was put up for adoption three months later. After years of looking for his biological mother, he called her on her 65th birthday. But she refused to take his call.

Smith's adoptive family moved often. His father's job in the Canadian Forces took them throughout Canada and to Germany. He attended high school in Ottawa, and graduated from medical school at the University of Saskatchewan in 1975.

Sick Kids tenureFirst doubts

In 1991, a family in Timmins, Ont., was the first to raise questions about Smith's work. He had concluded their one-year-old baby had died from being shaken. The child had been under the care of a babysitter who said the baby had fallen down stairs.

In court, experts challenged Smith's opinion, which had resulted in the babysitter's charge of manslaughter. The judge in the case stated Smith should have taken other causes into consideration.  Once the most prolific pathologist, Smith began getting a reputation for late cases, and his disorderly desk produced samples that had gone missing.

In 2002, he received a caution from the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons. The college said he was being "overly dogmatic" and had a "tendency towards overstatement."

In June 2005, Dr. Barry McLellan, Ontario's chief coroner, started the review of 45 child autopsies conducted by Smith between 1991 and 2002. The review, released in April 2007, found that Smith had made mistakes in 20 cases involving the deaths of children. The review cast doubt on criminal convictions in 13 of the cases.

"I am very surprised with the overall results of the review, and concerned," McLellan said. "In a number of cases, the reviewers felt that Dr. Smith had provided an opinion regarding the cause of death that was not reasonably supported by the materials available for review."  The chief coroner said the results of the review were being shared with defence and Crown attorneys involved in all of the relevant criminal cases.

After resigning from Sick Kids in 2005, Smith accepted a pathology position in Saskatoon. He was fired after three months. A tribunal later reinstated him, but without a licence, Smith was unable to practise.


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Re: Dr.Charles Randal Smith: Disgraced Forensic Pathologist
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2010, 06:34:13 PM »
When I look at Smith's victims (innocent people) as a whole I find it impossible to agree he made errors as the media and his peers insist on calling it.

The majority were mothers of limited means, unable to fight the allegations he made against them.  One was a female teenager whose father was luckily able to fight the charges for his daughter, at considerable cost to the family.  The lone male was once a man of limited means - I wish him well with his just and legal reward.

Not one woman of means lost her child during Smith's tenure as a patholigist?  I'm sure some did, so I find it mind boggling that he made no accusations of murder over an accident against one of them.

Imo, Smith deliberately framed his victims because he could.


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Re: Dr.Charles Randal Smith: Disgraced Forensic Pathologist
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2010, 07:30:17 PM »
This is so absurd.

Two years later, the Ontario government announced compensation for families affected by Smith's mistakes. Individuals will be entitled to a maximum of $250,000 each. A child of someone wrongfully accused who was removed from the family home as a result is entitled to up to $25,000.  A family member directly affected by a relative's involvement in the criminal justice system is entitled to up to $12,500. Legal costs incurred by the wrongly accused may also be reimbursed.

How do you compensate a child for taking them away from their parents in their crucial years? I hope they will look at the system and look at ways in which their are checks and balances amongst colleagues. It is so very hard to believe that others would not have been able to discover his errors. 

What in the world was his motive? Why would someone do this?

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Re: Dr.Charles Randal Smith: Disgraced Forensic Pathologist
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2010, 08:27:42 PM »
Others were able to discover Smith's errors along the way - at a considerable cost to a few families.

In the article quoted above, there is a very telling statement 'The inquiry ... found that Smith 'actively misled' his superiors, 'made false and misleading statements' in court ...'

It was there all along.  Smith's boss, Dr Alan Young, let him slide through glaring problems for many years.  Dr Young promised in his testimony at the Kaufman Inquiry that he would fix the problems with forensic testing in Ontario.  At the time of this testimony, Dr Young had a new employee he was grooming - Dr Charles Smith.  Young was stripped of his privileges in the medical world in Ontario - but not soon enough and no consequences.

In other articles I have read about this monster (my opinion) one of the biggest hurdles was a lack of other pediatric pathologists available to provide a second opinion.  Innocent people had to go out of province or out of the country to refute what Smith concluded - few could afford it.  It's a difficult job and the province didn't pay all that much for this specialized service.  Smith acted alone for the most part in Ontario and was taken at his word many times - but not all the time.

Motive?  Imo, the same as Olson, Bernardo, Pickton, Williams ....


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Re: Dr.Charles Randal Smith: Disgraced Forensic Pathologist
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2010, 11:47:53 AM »

Woman wrongly convicted of killing baby


TORONTO - C.M. received the call she has been waiting to hear for 17 years on Thursday - the one saying she's cleared in the manslaughter of her new born.

She is one of many people wrongfully convicted by the flawed pathology of disgraced Dr. Charles Smith.

"Seventeen years of hell are coming to an end," said C.M.'s lawyer James Lockyer said in a Durham, Ont., courthouse after calling his client to say it was all.

C.M., who cannot be identified or have her home city named because of a publication ban, was not in court.

"She attended her appeal and found it very difficult to cope, so she didn't appear today," Lockyer said.

"She is very relieved and pleased the guilty plea was set aside. She said, 'Thank God,'" he said. 

In November 1992, C.M. gave birth to a baby on the floor.

She claimed she was unaware she was pregnant and there was blood everywhere.

Paramedics found the baby in the toilet.

"She was all alone with blood all over the walls and her baby died before her eyes," Lockyer said.

"Twenty-four hours after the baby's death she was sitting in jail."

C.M. was charged with second-degree murder but agreed to a guilty plea for manslaughter and received a suspended sentence, 300 hours of community service and three years of probation.

Lockyer says C.M. plead guilty to a crime she didn't commit because she was afraid Smith, who was considered at the time as a leading authority, would be believed in court and because she felt she was being a burden on her family.

"Smith made this into a homicide when the cause of death couldn't be determined. There was no evidence to support his claim of asphyxia.


C.M. is just one victim of the flawed science of disgraced pathologist Dr. Charles Smith, who routinely lied under oath at trials. His work sparked an inquest into dozens of cases where he helped wrongfully convict the innocent.

Here are a few examples:

* William Mullins-Johnson spent 12 years in jail after Dr. Charles Smith wrongfully testified in 1994 he strangled and sexually assaulted his young niece. Smith lost evidence in the case but still helped convict Mullins-Johnson. Smith didn't perform an autopsy but testified the girl had been sodomized. Other pathologists determined the little girl died of natural causes. Mullins-Johnson was the first to have his conviction overturned by the Ontario Court of Appeal in October 2007.

* Brenda Waudby was arrested in 1997 after her toddler died. She was charged with beating her little girl to death, but a male baby sitter later confessed. During the toddler's autopsy, Smith found a pubic hair in the toddler's vagina but didn't turn the evidence over to police for five years. He also didn't perform a standard rape kit, which would have convicted the baby sitter.

* Roy Simmons was also wrongfully convicted. In 1993, he was feeding formula to his grandson, who had a history of choking and stopped breathing. Smith convinced a jury the baby suffered head injuries and Simmons went to jail for seven years until a review cleared his name.

* Louise Reynolds was charged in 1997 with killing her seven-year-old daughter. Smith testified that Reynolds stabbed her daughter to death 82 times with a pair of scissors. Other pathologists later determined the little girl had been mauled to death by a neighbour's pit bull.


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Re: Dr.Charles Randal Smith: Disgraced Forensic Pathologist
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2011, 06:12:57 PM »
Harold Levy, formerly a reporter with the Toronto Star, has been maintaining a blog with extensive information about the Smith case (also branching into related issues of wrongful convictions and flawed pathology).

Find it at

Many of the documents still posted on the Goudge Commission website are also of interest:


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Re: Dr.Charles Randal Smith: Disgraced Forensic Pathologist
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2011, 11:36:28 AM »
He sure should.  Look how many lives he ruined with his game.  Jail and a long term like some innocent ones got.