John Chipman’s new book, Death in the Family investigates the devastating consequences of the “think dirty” approach of the Ontario Coroner’s office in the mid-‘90s. Dangerous assumptions were made about the cause of pediatric deaths that resulted in parents being wrongly charged in the deaths of their children. At the heart of the “think dirty” approach was Dr. Charles Smith, chief pathologist of the Ontario Pediatric Forensic Pathology Unit who despite his lack of forensic training, gave opinions on the causes of death that were frequently the foundation of convictions and investigations. This book brings a voice to the victims of Dr. Charles Smith and showcases the shattering consequences of justice system failure.
The following articles showcase the stories of the victims and the challenges of plea bargains.
Convicted of killing her son based on Charles Smith’s testimony, Tammy Marquardt enters the Prison for Women. An excerpt from Death in the Family:
Charles Smith scandal: How a mother wrongly accused of killing her son fought back. The story of Lianne Thibeault:
‘I fought back’: A mother’s fight to clear her name in toddler death. The story of Brenda Waudby:
Why plea bargains can be a deal with the devil: