Smith wanted to ‘make case look good’
Colin Mcconnell/Torstar News Service
Disgraced pathologist Dr. Charles Smith admitted to a public inquiry yesterday he was biased in favour of prosecutors and child advocates.
Smith made the surprising revelation while explaining for the first time why he erred in child-death investigations.
"I honestly believed it was my role to support the Crown attorney. I was there to make a case look good," he acknowledged during his first day of testimony before the Inquiry into Pediatric Forensic Pathology in Ontario.
"It took me a long time, years, to acknowledge that my role was really not to make the Crown’s case or to make the case of whoever wanted me in court, but really to be much more impartial," he explained.
The pathologist, who began doing autopsies for the coroner in 1981, admitted bias may have influenced him into the 1990s. It may have affected him in "one or more cases" before the inquiry, he said.
The inquiry is looking at 20 cases in which Smith erred. Parents and caregivers were convicted, charged or otherwise implicated because of Smith’s evidence. They spent time behind bars and some lost custody of surviving children — either permanently or temporarily.
Smith was profusely apologetic for his mistakes, saying "sorry" no less than 20 times throughout the day.