Ex-pathologist’s lecture irks wrongly jailed woman
TORONTO — A woman who was wrongly sent to prison for the death of her infant son 15 years ago — largely due to the faulty testimony of disgraced pathologist Charles Smith — was outraged to learn Tuesday that he had been a guest lecturer at an eastern Ontario high school last week.
“In a way. I’m speechless,” said Sherry SherretRobinson from her home in Trenton, Ont. “If I knew he was going to be there, I would’ve gone out there and protested. This was just a slap in the face.”
Officials with the eastern Ontario school board have launched an investigation into how it came to be that Smith gave an hourlong talk to a Grade 11 law class Friday at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute in Picton, Ont., about 225 kilometres east of Toronto.
His lecture centred on coroners, their role in death inquests and DNA.
Sherret-robinson, 36, said it was ridiculous that Smith would talk about these topics, given his history.
From the 1980s to the 2000s, Smith was a leading Canadian expert in pediatric forensics. Despite having no formal accreditation or training, he acted as a star witness in pathology for the Crown in hundreds of cases involving suspicious child deaths.
In 2007, the Ontario chief coroner launched a two-year probe into Smith’s work and found serious problems with 20 of the 44 autopsies the former doctor performed. Twelve of those cases had resulted in charges or convictions, with some people spending years in prison.
Earlier this year, Ontario’s College of Physicians and Surgeons handed down its harshest sentence by stripping Smith of his medical licence.
Smith moved to Saanich a few years ago.