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

Louise Reynolds

Louise Reynolds was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of her seven-year-old daughter, Sharon. She spent two years in jail.

Sharon's body was found in the basement of her Kingston, Ont., home on June 12, 1997.

Dr. Smith concluded that 80 cuts on Sharon's body had been caused by scissors or a knife. Despite knowing that a pit bull lived in the basement, Dr. Smith ruled out an animal as the cause of her injuries.

Ms. Reynolds was exonerated after Sharon's body was exhumed, revealing at least some of her injuries were bites from a pit bull. She later launched a lawsuit.

Maria Shepherd

Maria Shepherd spent two years less a day in jail after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the death of her three-year-old stepdaughter, Kasandra.

Kasandra was found unconscious on April 9, 1991. She died two days later.

The Filipina immigrant acknowledged she had hit the child in a moment of frustration, but claimed it was a minor blow that she couldn't have imagined would have led to the child having seizures and dying.

Dr. Smith concluded Kasandra died from a blow to the head. However, another pathologist later found evidence to suggest she died of natural causes, such as epilepsy.

Ms. Shepherd said her lawyer had warned her against trying to plead not guilty, saying Dr. Smith "was a force to be reckoned with."

In May, 2009, the Ontario Court of Appeal granted Ms. Shepherd's request to reopen her case and seek exoneration.

Sherry Sherrett-Robinson

Sherry Sherrett-Robinson was convicted of infanticide in 1999 for the death of her four-month-old son after Dr. Smith testified that he found signs consistent with homicide on the body of Joshua Sherrett. She spent a year in jail.

Last December, Ms. Sherrett-Robinson was acquitted of infanticide by the Ontario Court of Appeal. The court told Ms. Sherrett-Robinson it was "profoundly regrettable" she was wrongly convicted based on errors by Dr. Smith. The court heard it was possible that Joshua suffocated in his crib after becoming entangled in bedclothes.

"The tragedy of this four-month-old child's death is compounded by the fact that his mother was wrongly convicted of infanticide, served a year in jail and she lost her other child,' Mr. Justice Marc Rosenberg said at the time.

After Ms. Sherrett-Robinson was charged, her eldest son was seized and put up for adoption. She is not permitted to seek him out until he is 18.

Marco and Anisa Trotta

Marco Trotta was convicted of second-degree murder, aggravated assault and assault causing bodily harm and sentenced to life in prison for the death of his eight-month-old son, Paolo. His wife, Anisa, was convicted of criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessities of life and sentenced to five years in prison.

Paolo was found dead in his crib on May 29, 1993. A pathologist initially ruled he died from sudden infant death syndrome. But the investigation into his death was reopened a year later when Mr. and Ms. Trotta brought their newborn to hospital with a fractured femur.

The baby's body was exhumed and Dr. Smith found the cause of death was undetermined, but found multiple fractures and suspected foul play. Police charged Mr. and Ms. Trotta. However, two pathologists later discredited Dr. Smith's botched autopsy and testimony. Among other discredited findings, Dr. Smith mistook an old, partly healed skull fracture for a recent injury.

In 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada ordered a new trial for Mr. and Ms. Trotta, citing Dr. Smith's mistakes.

Brenda Waudby

Brenda Waudby was charged with second-degree murder in the death of her 21-month-old daughter, Jenna Mellor.

Ms. Waudby left Jenna in the care of a 14-year-old babysitter on Jan. 22, 1997. That night, the toddler died in hospital. A pubic hair was found in her groin area.

Dr. Smith performed an autopsy and concluded the girl had died of blunt abdominal trauma. Ms. Waudby was charged in September, 1997, based, in part, because Dr. Smith determined the girl likely died at a time when she was with her mother. The Crown withdrew the charge after experts suggested the girl had suffered fatal injuries when she was not in Ms. Waudby's care.

Five years after the murder charge against Ms. Waudby had been withdrawn, and after Dr. Smith had testified that he knew nothing about the pubic hair, he found the hair in an envelope in his desk.

Jenna's babysitter pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2006 and confessed he had punched, poked and burned the girl to the point of death. Charges of sexual assault were withdrawn because of insufficient evidence. He cannot be named because he was a minor at the time.

With a report from Stephanie Chambers

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