Smith struggles to keep composure at inquiry

The quiet, measured tones of Dr. Charles Smith gave way to tearful displays of emotion yesterday as the disgraced pathologist apologized for helping send an innocent man to prison and vehemently denied ever enjoying "sticking the knife in" when testifying as an expert witness.

After three days of testifying, Smith faced decidedly more combative questions from lawyers for people whose lives were torn apart by his professional mistakes.


In an emotionally fraught exchange, Smith struggled to compose himself for nearly a minute as he faced William Mullins-Johnson, a man he helped put behind bars for more than a decade.

"Sir, I don’t expect that you would forgive me," Smith said, his voice breaking and his eyes welling with tears. "I do want to make it very clear to you that I am profoundly sorry for the role that I played in the ultimate decision that affected you."

Then, in a voice barely above a whisper, Smith said: "I am sorry."

Commissioner Stephen Goudge was about to call a 15-minute recess when Mullins-Johnson confronted — and then forgave — Smith.

Mullins-Johnson spent 12 years in prison, convicted of raping and murdering his four-year-old niece.

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