On a typical case, he might have to decide whether a child had been shaken to death or accidentally fallen from a highchair.
Dr. Charles Smith was once considered top-notch in his field of forensic child pathology. In 1999, a Fifth Estate documentary singled him out as one of four Canadians with this rare expertise.
For 24 years, Smith worked at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children. In the hospital's pediatric forensic pathology unit, he conducted more than 1,000 child autopsies.
But Smith no longer practises pathology. An Ontario coroner's inquiry reviewed 45 child autopsies in which Smith had concluded the cause of death was either homicide or criminally suspicious.
The coroner's review found that Smith made questionable conclusions of foul play in 20 of the cases — 13 of which had resulted in criminal convictions. After the review's findings were made public in April 2007, Ontario's government ordered a public inquiry into the doctor's practices.
That inquiry, led by Justice Stephen Goudge and concluding in October 2008, found that Smith "actively misled" his superiors, "made false and misleading statements" in court and exaggerated his expertise in trials.