|PostMedia News Photo of Dinesh Kumar|
The National Post ran this story on Thursday. Mr. Dinesh Kumar is now 44 years old but twenty years ago he was accused of killing his five week old son. It was the now notoriously inaccurate Ontario pathologist, Dr. Charles Smith, who concluded that the infant named Gaurov died as a result of shaken baby syndrome. On Thursday the Ontario Court of Appeal cleared this poor suffering man of all liability in his son's death. Of course, his case was compounded by the fact that 20 years ago he was subjected to such intense investigatory pressure that he could no longer take it, so he confessed to taking his son's life. He was initially charged with second degree murder but when he pleased guilty , it was to a lesser charge of criminal negligence causing death. For two decades he has lived with the shame, the sentence, the ostracism, the record of being a baby killer, when in fact he was innocent.
Confession is precisely what the MCFD Team here in B.C. has expected and initially sought to extract from the Baynes with regard to injuries sustained by their several week old infant daughter over three years ago. When that confession was not offered but rather a resounding declaration of innocence in every early meeting with them, the MCFD became entrenched in a combative posture that has been well demonstrated by the wording of risk assessments and affidavits and cross examinations.
Now listen to an extract of the Kumar case as it is reported by Linda Nguyen of the National Post. She writes, “Dr. Smith concluded Gaurov died of shaken-baby syndrome. But in new material filed with the appeal court, new opinions from various medical experts have found that Smith’s conclusion is no longer scientifically valid.” Lawyer James Lockyer took on Mr. Kumar's case three years ago,. Mr. Lockyer is the founding director for the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted. He said, “... 20 years ago, the theory offered to explain shaken-baby syndrome was “en vogue... The trouble was that the attempt of an explanation somehow became fact, became science — when it wasn’t... Smith’s reputation went beyond police and Crown and judges, it seemed to have affected defence lawyers of the day. If Smith said something, it was almost bound to be right.”
The Baynes' child did not die. They are so thankful for that yet nonetheless, in their case parents have again borne blame for conditions of injury to their child because the title of the diagnosis itself implicates non accidental injury. MCFD practitioners have been willing to depend exclusively on a doctor's SBS diagnosis, well in fact, the Director himself said that his affidavit in support of the Continuing Care Application rested solely upon the pediatrician's SBS diagnosis. Apparently in B.C. there is a medical consensus that SBS is still 'en vogue.” No one within MCFD sought to think outside this strict designation by seeking other opinions. It was left to Zabeth and Paul themselves to uncover medical experts who disagree with the blanket SBS diagnosis and certainly disagree that it should apply in this case.That contradictory evidence by the way is building daily and annually in the medical arena and appears only appropriate that this well publicized Bayne Case shall conclude with a Judge dismissing the validity of SBS as a justification for the treatment of this entire family.
Not for a moment is anyone saying that to question SBS is to turn on a green light for child abusers and shakers. Rather the opposition is to the use of a triad of injuries as an automatic guilty conviction if not criminally then certainly practically within the framework of a child protection system with the legal interruptive, invasionary power like that bestowed upon MCFD through the CFCSA. Any way one slices this kind of case, the RCMP could find no substantive evidence that warranted a charge of any kind, and the medical diagnosis also came without actual evidence of culpability. The suspicion that arises from the grave physical conditions of an injured child is not the equivalent of evidence, and even the suspicion must be set aside when the resultant diagnosis is one which is increasingly disputed because the injuries may be consistent with accident or one of various other conditions or diseases.