Saturday, April 30, 2005

Coroner saw murder in too many baby deaths, warns expert

A criminologist who researched more than 25 infant autopsies conducted by Ontario pathologist Charles Smith says he reached a finding of foul play in every case that she saw.

'I believe that Charles Smith's autopsies should be reviewed for the purpose of seeing whether his autopsies have resulted in any wrongful convictions,' said criminologist Prof. Kirsten Kramar, a sociology professor at the University of Winnipeg. 'I found it striking that he concluded there was foul play in every one of them.'

Increasing controversy has surrounded Dr. Smith. Judges and medical authorities have criticized his conclusions, amd charges collapsed in several criminal cases he worked on, leading to calls for a public inquiry.

Two parents who faced charges in a case that involved Dr. Smith said yesterday they are still shaken by their experience.

Eight years after police charged Brenda Waudby with murder in the death of her daughter, Jenna, Ms. Waudby's feelings have not softened toward the pathologist. The Crown withdrew the murder charge against her, after dramatic changes in medical evidence undermined the prosecution.

"He destroyed my life," Ms. Waudby said. "It has been a living nightmare. I will keep going on every day trying to make the government accountable for what Dr. Smith has done."

Her former partner, now remarried, Randy Mellor. said yesterday that the death of his daughter, coupled with the horrifying mistakes afterward, have haunted his life ever since.

"It doesn't get any easier. It compounds daily," Mr. Mellor said.


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