Monday, March 2, 2015

Helen Milner: New Zealand: So-called "Black Widow," is hoping for a retrial after producing three experts who could shed doubt on the cause of her husband's death. Defence says three overseas experts have raised “serious doubt” over whether promethazine was the cause of death. News 3;


STORY "Black Widow appeal in Supreme Court," by reporter Simon Wong, published by New Zealand's News 3, on February 16, 2015.

He applied for leave to appeal her conviction his murder. Milner was sentenced to a 17-year minimum non-parole period in February last year for the 2009 murder of Mr Nisbet, after being found guilty of giving him an overdose of antihistamine. The cause of death had been ruled as the ingestion of promethazine, an ingredient in the drug Phenergan. Both Crown and defence relied on promethazine being the cause of death at the trial. It was originally believed Mr Nisbet had committed suicide, but his Australia-based sister Lee-Anne Cartier managed to get police to reopen the case. During today's hearing, Mr Glover said three overseas experts have raised “serious doubt” over whether promethazine was the cause of death. "Other causes of death have not been properly investigated," he said. The experts, two from the US, including a forensic pathologist, and one from the UK, needed access to the evidence and were so willing to help, they had offered to give evidence pro-bono, he said.
Outside court, Mr Glover said a jury needed to hear the new evidence. "[The experts] have come to the conclusion it is quite unlikely that drug did kill Mr Nisbet and there are a number of possible explanations than death by promethazine, but they need access to the actual materials taken from the body at the time of autopsy," he said.........The justices reserved their decision.
The entire story can be found at:

http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/black-widow-appeal-in-supreme-court-2015021610?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+co%2FHCaY+%283News-+Latest+News%29#axz
 z3RrOOpLI6

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Mark Lundy: New Zealand: Murder retrial; Week 4. Defence calls first witness: A U.K. crime scene expert. Stuff.co;


STORY: "Mark Lundy murder retrial: Week 4," by reporter John Galuszka, published by Stuff.co on March 2, 2015.

GIST: "The defence in the retrial of murder-accused Mark Lundy has called its first witness, a UK-based crime scene expert, in the fourth week of proceedings in the High Court in Wellington. .........11:49am: The defence has called its first witness - UK-based crime scene expert Gillian Leak. Justice Simon France told the jury it was "somewhat out of order" for her to be called now, halfway through the Crown witnesses, but she needed to get back to England for an engagement. The judge also told the jury they must consider Leak's evidence like any other, giving whatever weight to it that they want, and that the defence calling evidence did not change the burden of proof. "The prosecution still have to prove the allegations."11:24  am:  Experiments by Leak showed one of the two stains on Mark Lundy's polo shirt, both of which had traces of blood in them, could have in fact created the other stain, the court was told this morning. Defence lawyer David Morgan read sections of a report by Leak, a blood pattern analyst from England, to ESR scientist Bjorn Sutherland. The report had findings of an experiment she did to see how stains could spread on a polo shirt similar to what Lundy wore at the time he allegedly killed his wife and daughter. It said the two stains may have actually started as one, with the shirt effectively contaminating itself. Sutherland said he could not exclude that as a possibility."

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/66821253/mark-lundy-murder-retrial-week-4

 See related story. TVNZ: "Gillian Leak is a British Blood Pattern Analysis Expert from Principal Forensic Services Ltd in the United Kingdom. Mrs Leak has been called after the court heard several days of evidence from Crown ESR expert, Bjorn Sutherland. She told the jury there have been a lot of advances in forensic science over the past ten years, particularly in relation to DNA analysis.
Mrs Leak has told the court she has extensive expertise in brain tissue found at crime scenes.  She told the court her first case was related to the murders committed by a British serial killer, who became known as the "Yorkshire Ripper." Peter Sutcliffe was convicted in 1981 for the murder of 13 women and attempted murder of seven others. He was sentenced to life imprisonment."
 http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/lundy-murder-trial-expert-yorkshire-ripper-case-gives-evidence-6245242?ref=rss

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog

Henry Keogh; David Szach; Sue Neill-Fraser; Australia; Criminal justice critic Andrew Andrew L. Durbin looks at these cases in the light of judges and lawyers who he claims disregard the law because they are 'frequently timid in criticizing their professional colleagues." "Is peer group protectionism among lawyers trumping miscarriages of justice?" he asks; Pursue Democracy; (Must read.) HL.



http://pursuedemocracy.com/2015/02/a-law-unto-their-learned-selves/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Charles Smith: Former Chief Coroner James Young; Former Deputy Coroner Jim Cairns; The Toronto Star's Theresa Boyle reports that the doctors who supervised disgraced pathologist Charles Smith never faced a discipliary hearing. (Protecting the protectors - while the medical profession in Ontario protects itself. HL);


PUBLISHER'S VIEW: (Editorial);  Ontario's criminal justice system  must look so unfair to former doctor Charles Smith's many victims like Brenda Waudby and Lianne Thibeault and their families. They were arrested on little  more than the opinion of the once renowned former doctor  Charles Randal Smith and charged with horrific offences relating to the deaths of their beloved children.  Smith, who admitted perjury, "lost"  important evidence that showed his opinions were  wrong, obstructed efforts by defence lawyers to get information to independent experts retained by the defence, and pretending  falsely to judges and juries  to be experienced in forensic pathology, (he was anything but)  was never charged with a single crime.  Smith's victims protests of innocence were ignored by the authorities.  No consideration for them.  Their lives were ruined. Some even had other children taken away from them and put up for adoption.  Meanwhile, Smith and his protectors in the Chief Coroner's Office sailed into the sunset.  As the Toronto Star's investigations reveal, The College continues to offer deals to doctors who have harmed their patients. Slip away quietly into the night,  like Charles Smith was quietly permitted to do from the Hospital for Sick Children as his misdeeds threatened to become public  Don't embarrass  the medical profession.  Don't let other patients of these doctors know that they, too,  may have been at risk. Better to let them gently fade away than risk shattering the myth that the medical profession in Ontario  is protecting the public -  and not just itself. A last thought. The story refers to Smith's "mistakes" in  twenty cases. To characterize his acts as "mistakes" is to fall into Smith's dubious defence at the Goudge Inquiry which was peppered ad nauseam with admissions confined to  a litany of  "errors" and  "mistakes" which could have been made by any other pathologist. Not so, Smith's errors and mistakes were directed against people he didn't like - like single mothers, who were unemployed and may have used drugs - and didn't fit into his vision of the Christian family. And his "errors" and "mistakes" were pointed in one direction - helping the police, and making sure that the Crown got a guilty plea or a conviction, so that the person he, Charles Smith had selected for prosecution, would go to jail.  "Mistakes" goes nowhere near describing the infamous conduct of the former Doctor Charles Randal Smith.

Harold Levy. Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog.

STORY:  "Doctors who supervised  disgraced pathologist Charles Smith never faced disciplinary hearing," by reporter Theresa Boyle, published by the Toronto Star on February 28, 2015;

SUB-HEADING: James Young and Jim Cairns voluntarily resigned in 2009, and the College struck a deal in exchange for dropping a probe.

PHOTO CAPTION:  "Brenda Waudby was wrongly implicated her daughter's death by former forensic pathologist Charles Smith."

GIST: "Five years after the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO)  made controversial deals with two doctors who played central roles in Ontario’s pediatric forensic pathology fiasco, victims of miscarriages of justice are still steaming. In 2010, the college entered into undertakings with former chief coroner James Young and former deputy corner Jim Cairns, agreeing to drop investigations into them if they promised never to reapply to practise medicine again. Their involvement in the Charles Smith debacle is what brought their careers to an end. Smith, the province’s former pediatric forensic pathologist, made mistakes in 20 death investigations that led to people being criminally charged, convicted or otherwise implicated in the deaths of children. He reported to the coroner’s office. At a 2007-08 public inquiry, Young and Cairns were castigated for their “woefully inadequate” oversight of Smith. They shielded him from scrutiny, contributing to massive failings by the coroner’s office. The CPSO subsequently started an investigation into the pair........Young and Cairns voluntarily resigned from medicine in 2009 and the following year the college struck the deal with them, getting them to promise never to return to the practice of medicine in exchange for dropping its probe. But it wasn’t enough for victims of the tragedy, who feel the pair weren’t held to account. “We were paraded in public through the courts and through the media. These guys were allowed to quietly go away. How is that justified?” asks Brenda Waudby, who was wrongly charged with murdering her 21-month-old daughter. Another daughter was removed from the Peterborough woman’s custody for almost two years. A babysitter subsequently pleaded guilty to manslaughter. “The college should not be protecting their black sheep to avoid embarrassing the profession,” charges Maurice Gagnon, a Sudbury man who spent his $100,000 retirement fund to clear his daughter’s name. His daughter, Lianne Thibeault, had come under suspicion for the 1995 death of her 11-month-old son after he struck his head on a table. Smith wrongly determined the toddler died of “nonaccidental” blunt-force trauma. A sibling was taken into custody by child welfare authorities. “They (Young and Cairns) avoided the humiliation as suffered by their victims. The public is aware of Charles Smith, but not the roles of Young and Cairns,” Gagnon said."
The entire story can be found at: 

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/02/28/doctors-who-supervised-disgraced-pathologist-never-faced-disciplinary-hearing.html

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog

Kirk Odum. District of Columbia; Momentous decision: Judge orders D.C. to pay record $9.2 million in wrongful conviction case. The Washington Post has reported that Odom is one of five D.C. men convicted of rape or murder to have his charges vacated since 2009, based on erroneous forensics and testimony by an elite unit of FBI hair experts. Reporter Spenser S. Hsu.


STORY: "Judge order D.C. to pay record $9.2 million in wrongful conviction case," by reporter Spencer S. Hsu, published by the Washington Post on February 28, 2015.




 PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Melissa Calusinski: '48 Hours' looks at her case tonight (Saturday February 28, 2015 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS) and asks - With impartial, medical evidence supporting Melissa Calusinski's innocence, how much weight should be given to her confession? A commentary by '48 Hours' investgator Erin Moriarty;


COMMENTARY:  48 Hours: "How much weight should a confession carry?" by Erin Moriarty, CBS News, published on February 27, 2015. "Erin Moriarty is a "48 Hours" correspondent. She investigates the Melissa Calusinski case Saturday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS."

GIST; How much weight should we give to confessions? We know people confess falsely, sometimes very convincingly, but how do we know which ones to believe? What if the confession doesn't match the evidence? These are questions raised by the disturbing case of Melissa Calusinski. It is possible that this 28-year-old woman could spend the next 25 years in prison, not for what she did, but what she said she did. While she confessed to murdering a child, there is considerable new evidence to support her innocence. What and whom to believe?.........In the end, it was the state's arguments and Melissa's taped confession that convinced the jury: they convicted Melissa Calusinski of murder. She was sentenced to 31 years in prison. That would be the end of it if not for Melissa's father, Paul Calusinski. Believing in his daughter's innocence, he convinced a newly-elected county coroner, Thomas Rudd, to re-examine the evidence. As Rudd later related, "I could not believe what I was seeing, because it was the exact opposite of what was written. So, I had my head spinning." What took Rudd by surprise was the discovery of clear evidence of an earlier injury in the child's brain. That injury, according to Rudd, occurred weeks or even months before the child died, possibly before Melissa Calusinski worked at the day care center. It was crucial evidence that was somehow missed by the pathologist who did the autopsy. Rudd now believes that it was the earlier injury that set into motion the events that led to Ben Kingan's death. When Rudd confronted the pathologist, Dr. Eupil Choi, with his findings, Choi admitted he made a mistake and even signed an affidavit to that effect. Later, at the request of the State's attorney, Choi sent a letter saying that his error would not have changed his testimony at Melissa's trial. Still, you might think that this error on the part of the state's star witness would cause the Lake County State's Attorney, Michael Nerheim, to take another look at the conviction. So far that hasn't happened, in large part because of Melissa's confessions. Did she truly confess? Her attorney Kathleen Zellner says no. According to Zellner, Melissa Calusinski's confession, that followed nine hours of a relentless interrogation, doesn't match the evidence. If she did, in fact, throw the child in anger on the floor, why is there no injury or bruising on the toddler's scalp or body? When first prodded by police, Melissa takes a doll and throws it down face first. Ben Kingan's injuries are all on the back of his skull. There is another factor that should be considered: Melissa's ability to understand what was happening in the interrogation room. Her records indicate a very low verbal IQ of 74 which means she has difficulty expressing herself and understanding others. Did that play a part in her confession? Finally, there is this: according to the Innocence Project of New York , more than 60 percent of those exonerated by DNA tests in homicide cases first confessed -- falsely. With impartial, medical evidence supporting Melissa Calusinski's innocence, how much weight should be given to her confession? It's a troubling case.

The entire commentary can be found at:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/48-hours-how-much-weight-should-a-confession-carry/

Link to '48 Hours' site: (CBS): "A young woman is serving a 31-year murder sentence for a crime she says she didn’t commit. If that’s the case, why did she confess? "48 Hours"' Erin Moriarty investigates."

 http://www.cbsnews.com/48-hours/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Larry Swearingen: Texas: His request for additional DNA testing of evidence he believes could exonerate him in the 1998 rape and murder of college student Melissa Trotter is once again under consideration by the Court of Criminal Appeals. The court declined to hear oral arguments in a Jan. 9 notice to attorneys, but the case was submitted to the court Jan. 21.



STORY: "Oral arguments denied in Larry Swearingen request for DNA testing, by reporter Brandon K. Scott, published by The Courier of Montgomery County on February 21, 2015.

GIST: "Death row inmate Larry Swearingen’s request for additional DNA testing of evidence he believes could exonerate him in the 1998 rape and murder of college student Melissa Trotter is once again under consideration by the Court of Criminal Appeals. The court declined to hear oral arguments in a Jan. 9 notice to attorneys, but the case was submitted to the court Jan. 21. Swearingen, who was sentenced to death for capital murder July 11, 2000, wants testing of Trotter’s sexual assault collection kit; hairs recovered from her body, the gloves used to move her body and a hairbrush found on the ground near her body; all hairs collected from her clothing; the ligature and the pantyhose used to strangle Trotter, among other evidence his appellate attorneys believe contain biological evidence that has not been tested."

The entire story can be  found  at:

http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/courier/news/oral-arguments-denied-in-larry-swearingen-request-for-dna-testing/article_7556073b-03fa-506b-a2cc-d8536a1d9951.html

 PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;