Can forensic pathology and prosecutors get too close?

Can forensic pathology and prosecutors get too close?

Postby Guy Hibbins » Sun Oct 26, 2014 4:38 am

I was interested to read the OP ED piece by Bruce Fischer titled "DNA Laboratory Fraud Revealed in Amanda Knox Case" ... cle/386758

It made me think of allegations made against separate forensic pathologists in Ontario, Canada and Adelaide, South Australia where they were found to have made very basic mistakes over several decades leading to wrongful murder convictions or actual murders being overlooked and were in fact accused of being altogether too close to the prosecution. In the Canadian case half of 44 reviewed forensic autopsies were found to contain shocking mistakes possibly leading to wrongful convictions. In the South Australian case three separate battered infants were found to have died of natural causes and several murder convictions were called into serious question as a result of major forensic pathology errors.

In both cases these led to major public investigations into the cases where these pathologists were involved.

See and

Transcript at
The summary points made in relation to this 14 minute segment are as follows:
Dr Charles Smith, Ontario, and the failed autopsy investigations. The need for an Independent Commission Against Corruption. Prof Kent Roach, Ontario, interviewed by Graham Archer. Miscarriages of Justice happen everywhere -- it's the responses which are different. Systemic recommendations for reform.
44 of Smith's autopsies have been reviewed and it was found that there were shocking mistakes in at least half of them -- a "stabbed" girl was found to have been mauled by a dog. James Lockyer of AIDWYC. The Ontario government acted decisively -- and looked to other jurisdictions.

Adelaide pathologist Dr Colin Manock is put forward as Australia's version of Dr Smith. The example is put forward of the baby with 15 broken ribs and fractured spine was stated to have died of bronchopneumonia. Prof Roach states ""We need "institutional fixes" for the future. South Australia's coroner withheld his findings. Without remedying the past we can't fix the future". William Mullins-Johnson in Ontario, was jailed for 12 years -- death was subsequently found to be from natural causes. In an Adelaide case, files were left on a waste paper basket and thrown out. There was a survey into bruises caused post-mortem without ethical clearance and most relevant to the Keogh murder case. Documents showed bruises caused to the legs post mortem and then thrown away. Prof Roach speaks in support of a CCRC. The state Solicitor-General is called an "independent watchdog" by South Australian Premier Mike Rann.
Guy Hibbins
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