Monday, November 19, 2007
Goudge Inquiry; The Joshua Case: Part One; How Smith Caused Havoc By Failing To Deliver A Crucial Forensic Report;
"DR. SMITH IS VERY QUICK TO CONDEMN OTHER PATHOLOGISTS WHO MISS THINGS DURING THE POST MORTEM;"
PROSECUTOR SHEILA WALSH; IN A LETTER TO A COLLEAGUE PROSECUTING SHARON'S MOTHER;
The "Joshua" case involves a woman charged with first degree murder after Dr. Charles Smith came up with a diagnosis of "Asphyxia" in his autopsy report - and later informed the prosecutor, (Ms. Sheila Walsh), that he had detected a "skull fracture."
This Blog detailed the havoc caused in the Kporwodu and Veno case when Dr. Smith failed to produce urgently required forensic reports to anxious police and prosecutors. (See previous posting: (Kporwodu and Veno: Judge "shocked" by Smith's delay in producing post-mortem report.")
Now we learn - from a letter included in the "Overview Report" prepared for the Inquiry by Commission staff - that Smith's failure to provide an essential report caused similar havoc in Joshua's case.
The letter is from prosecutor Walsh to a colleague named Ed Bradley who was prosecuting Sharon's mother at the time.
"Dr. Smith initially prepared an autopsy report which said there was no injury to the baby's skull," Walsh said in her letter.
"He then later called to say that upon re=examination of the autopsy slides, he discovered a skull fracture.
Again, I requested a written report concerning this fracture, and again he would not provide it.
(We were not depending on Dr. Smith to prove the cause of death, but rather to rule out certain things.)
The presence of the skull fracture was, of course, extremely important to the case,
Again, I never did get a report about this.
Dr. Smith is very quick to condemn other pathologists who miss things during the post mortem.
Of course, this opened the door for the defence to say he could have missed other things.
Walsh eventually agreed to allow Sherry Sherret, (Joshua's mother) to plead guilty to infanticide. (More about that plea in a future posting);
She tells Bradley that, "while there were a number of considerations that went into that decision (to agree to the plea), one significant one was my experience with Dr. Smith."
This horror story gets even worse - when we learn from the external examiners reviewing Dr. Smith's work that Dr. Smith's opinion was terribly flawed;
No evidence to support a diagnosis of asphyxia;
No evidence to support Dr. Smith's observation of a skull fracture;
No definitive cause of death revealed by the autopsy findings;
Nothing but a possibility, suggested by the position in which Joshua's body was found, that he had accidentally suffocated while sleeping;
NEXT POSTING; Goudge inquiry: Joshua's case; Yet another example of Dr. Charles Randal Smith losing important forensic exhibits in a murder case;