Friday, November 16, 2007

Baby Amber case to be re-opened

Of the ten new cases uncovered at the Inquiry into Pediatic Forensic Pathology involving discredited Dr. Charles Smith, one case involves the death of a Timmins child and wrongful manslaughter charges against a 12-year-old Timmins girl.
The inquiry is looking into the faulty findings and questionable testimony of Dr. Smith who was previously head of the Ontario Pediatric Forensics Unit at the Hospital for Sick Children.
In several cases, Smith wrongly concluded that young children had died of injuries or negligent behavior by others. In some cases criminal charges followed.
In the case of Baby Amber-Lynn S------, of Timmins, she was 16 months-old when her parents left her in the care of a 12-year-old babysitter one day in July of 1988.
The toddler suffered a fall that day, down five stairs. Paramedics were called. They found the baby breathing irregularly, but with no visible injuries.
Two days later, on July 30, 1988, Baby Amber was pronounced brain dead at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
The cause of death was listed as “cerebral edema, due to head injury after an accidental fall.” An autopsy was requested due to a suspicion of the possibility of foul play.
As the result of the autopsy, Dr. Smith told police it was highly unlikely a fall killed Baby Amber. Smith said he believed the death was caused by severely shaking the baby.
The 12-year old babysitter, known as SM, was charged in December of 1988 with manslaughter. She maintained her innocence.
By the time the charge when to trial in 1991, the judge ruled he was not convinced the death of the baby was due to shaking.
The babysitter was acquitted.

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