Charles Smith (pathologist)

Charles Randal Smith is a former Canadian pathologist known for performing flawed child autopsies that resulted in wrongful convictions.

As the head forensic pathologist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, from 1982 to 2003, Smith performed more than 1,000 child autopsies.[1] 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.[2]

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

In response to the review, Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant immediately announced that there would be a full public inquiry into the state of pediatric forensic pathology in Ontario.[1] The Goudge Inquiry began hearing evidence on November 12, 2007.[3] The following year the inquiry found there to be fundamental errors made on the part of Smith. It concluded that Smith had "actively misled" superiors and made "false and misleading" statements in court.[4] Many of the cases in which he had testified were re-examined and appealed.[5][6]

Smith proclaimed that he had "a thing against people who hurt children", while critics said that "he was on a crusade and acted more like a prosecutor" than a pathologist.[1]

  1. ^ a b c "Dr. Charles Smith: The man behind the public inquiry". Archived from the original on 2018-08-10. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  2. ^ "Coroner orders review of Toronto pathologist - CTV News". 2005-06-08. Archived from the original on 2009-07-15. Retrieved 2011-08-17.
  3. ^ "Goudge inquiry expected to urge sweeping reforms for child autopsies". CBC News. September 30, 2008. Archived from the original on December 5, 2008. Retrieved March 1, 2009.
  4. ^ "Dr. Charles Smith: The man behind the public inquiry". CBC News. Archived from the original on 2016-02-29. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  5. ^ Chapman, John. "Death in the Family" Doubleday Canada. 2017. ISBN 978-0-385-68084-4
  6. ^ "Charles Smith scandal: How a mother wrongly accused of killing her son fought back". The Current. 2017-01-12. Archived from the original on 2018-12-04. Retrieved 2018-08-10.