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14 cases tainted by Charles Smith's evidence Add to ...







Lianne Gagnon

Lianne Gagnon was never charged in relation to the death of her 11-month-old son, Nicholas. But she lost custody of another child during a sustained police investigation.

Nicholas lost consciousness after likely hitting his head after crawling under a sewing table on Nov. 30, 1995. By the time he arrived at a hospital, he was in full cardiac arrest.

A pathologist initially found that the cause of death was undetermined and the findings were consistent with sudden infant death syndrome. However, Dr. Smith concluded the boy had died from a non-accidental bump to the head. An independent expert later ruled the cause of death as undetermined and found that Dr. Smith had made several errors.

While no charges were ever laid, child-welfare officials apprehended Ms. Gagnon's second child and her parents had to use their life savings to get the child back.



Dinesh Kumar

Dinesh Kumar was 26 when he pleaded guilty in 1992 to negligence causing the death of his five-week-old son Gaurov.

Gaurov screamed in his sleep on the night of March 18, 1992, and Mr. Kumar rushed to the crib to find the boy gasping and looking bluish. When Mr. Kumar picked up his son, the boy gasped and went limp. The baby was rushed to hospital, and was confirmed brain-dead. He was removed from life support two days later.

Dr. Smith concluded the boy died from shaken baby syndrome, and Mr. Kumar was charged with second-degree murder. Mr. Kumar later agreed to plead to a lesser charge, rather than face trial testimony from Dr. Smith.

In 2008, the Ontario Court of Appeal said it was "very understandable" Mr. Kumar would make such a plea bargain, and new evidence cast doubt on Dr. Smith's findings in the case. The case is currently under appeal.









Maureen Laidley

Maureen Laidley was charged with second-degree murder in the death of her boyfriend's four-year-old son, Tyrell Salmon.

Tyrell fell and hit his head on a marble coffee table while jumping on the couch on Jan. 18, 1998. The next morning, Ms. Laidley brought him to the hospital, where he died four days later.

Dr. Smith performed an autopsy and concluded Tyrell had died of a head injury, but found the injury was too severe to have been caused by a household accident.

Almost a year later, police charged Ms. Laidley with second-degree murder. The charge was withdrawn on the eve of her trial after three other pathologists concluded the bump was likely caused by falling on the coffee table.







Tammy Marquardt

In 1995, Tammy Marquardt was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison for the death of her two-year-old son, Kenneth. After spending 14 years in jail, she was freed on bail in March, 2009.

Kenneth died on Oct. 9, 1993, after Ms. Marquardt called 911 in a panic to report that she had emerged from the shower to find the boy tangled in his bedclothes, struggling for breath and calling, "Mommy." The boy had a history of epileptic seizures.

Dr. Smith concluded Kenneth had been asphyxiated as a result of smothering or neck compression. Two other pathologists, however, later found that the cause of death was undetermined.

Ms. Marquardt's two other sons - one born while she was awaiting trial, the other shortly after she was sent to prison - were seized by child-welfare authorities.

In April, 2009, the Supreme Court of Canada sent the case to the Ontario Court of Appeal to weigh fresh evidence and whether Ms. Marquardt's conviction constituted a miscarriage of justice.



William Mullins-Johnson

William Mullins-Johnson was convicted of first-degree murder and served 12 years in prison in the death of his four-year-old niece, Valin.

Mr. Mullins-Johnson babysat Valin and her brother at the home near Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., on the night of June 26, 1993. The next morning, their mother found the girl dead in bed.

Dr. Smith was one of three pathologists who concluded Valin had been asphyxiated and sexually assaulted. The cause of her death is undetermined.

Mr. Mullins-Johnson was released in 2005 when it was discovered that Dr. Smith had lost tissue samples that could have proved Valin had died of natural causes.

Mr. Mullins-Johnson was exonerated in October, 2007, after the Ontario Court of Appeal called his conviction a "terrible miscarriage of justice."

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