Pathology Expert Witnesses’ Testimony Sets Mother Free

Louise Reynolds of Kingston, Onatario was charged in June, 1997, with the stabbing death of her seven-year-old daughter and held in jail for almost two years. The charges were dropped when lawyers and expert witnesses became convinced that the child had been mauled by a pit bull. A U.S. pathology expert witness also backed the dog-bite theory.

Reynold’s case is in the news again due to an inquiry into the pediatric forensic pathology system in Ontario. According to a confidential document released yesterday, the lead detective urged prosecutors to push hard for Reynold’s conviction. Kingston police fought in court last year to keep the document out of the public eye. Tom Blackwell of The National Post also writes:

Even when the charge was withdrawn in the face of contradictory evidence from other experts, Kingston police continued to back the pathologist’s original viewpoint. International experts who reviewed Dr. Smith’s child-death investigations much later also said that he had wrongly diagnosed stab wounds, and concluded a pit bull had killed Sharon. The same experts found that the head of Ontario’s pediatric forensic pathology unit had made serious errors in 20 of 45 suspicious child deaths he investigated between 1991 and 2001.