Wednesday, October 6, 2010
BRENDA WAUDBY: TORONTO SUN COLUMNIST ALAN SHANOFF ON CRIME COMPENSATION BOARD'S REFUSAL TO COMPENSATE FOR PAIN AND SUFFERING CAUSED BY CHARLES SMITH;
SUNDAY, APRIL 25, 2010
BRENDA WAUDBY: TORONTO SUN COLUMNIST ALAN SHANOFF ON CRIME COMPENSATION BOARD'S REFUSAL TO COMPENSATE FOR PAIN AND SUFFERING CAUSED BY CHARLES SMITH;
"WORSE, ITS RECENT DECISION IN THE BRENDA WAUDBY CASE AGAIN DEMONSTRATES OFFICIOUS AND INFLEXIBLE CONDUCT. WAUDBY WAS WRONGLY CHARGED AND CONVICTED OF MURDERING HER 21-MONTH-OLD DAUGHTER. THIS THANKS TO THE BUNGLING OF PATHOLOGIST DR. CHARLES SMITH. YET WAUDBY’S APPLICATION TO THE CICB FOR COMPENSATION FOR HER PAIN AND SUFFERING WAS DISMISSED. APPARENTLY SHE DID NOT MEET ITS CRITERIA FOR COMPENSATION. IF THAT’S THE CASE THEN THE CRITERIA MUST BE RE-EXAMINED."
ALAN SHANOFF: THE TORONTO SUN;
BACKGROUND: (From Goudge Inquiry report); Jenna was born in Peterborough, Ontario. She died on January 22, 1997, at the age of 21 months. On January 21, 1997, at approximately 5 p.m., Jenna’s mother, Brenda Waudby, left Jenna in the care of a babysitter, J.D., who was 14 years old at the time. That night, Jenna was taken to a local hospital, where she died. Dr. Smith performed the autopsy and concluded that Jenna had died of blunt abdominal trauma. On September 18, 1997, the police charged Ms. Waudby with second-degree murder. In October 1998, following a preliminary hearing, the court committed Ms. Waudby to stand trial on the charge. On June 15, 1999, after receiving the opinions of several experts suggesting that Jenna had suffered her fatal injuries at a time when Ms. Waudby did not have care of Jenna, the Crown withdrew the charge. Two years later, in July 2001, the police began a reinvestigation of Jenna’s death. Ultimately, in December 2006, J.D. pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He was sentenced as a youth to 22 months in custody, followed by 11 months of community supervision.
"Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin is living on borrowed time," Alan Shanoff's Toronto Sun April 24, 2010 column begins, under the heading, "Ontario's ombudsman deserves another term."
""His five-year year term expired March 31 and the Ontario government is searching for a new ombudsman while Marin serves out a six-month temporary extension," the column continues.
"While Marin has reapplied for a second five-year term, it seems Premier Dalton McGuinty would rather find a replacement. But why?
What more could one have asked of Marin? Think about all of the areas he has examined and improved.
Do you pay property taxes? Do you purchase lottery tickets? Are you a cancer patient? Have you been a victim of a crime? Are you the parent of a special needs child? Did you have a baby in the last five years?
If so, your life or your rights have likely been improved due to Marin’s efforts.
His team has investigated long-term care facilities, the Ministry of Health’s funding of various drugs, the Family Responsibility Office, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, Legal Aid Ontario, the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services relationship with Tarion Warranty Corp., and the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation. That’s an impressive list of accomplishments.
The Ontario Ombudsman fulfils a vital role in society. The Ombudsman’s raison d’etre is the investigation of complaints against government.
Aside from investigating systemic problems within government agencies, the Ombudsman also handles in excess of 10,000 individual complaints and inquiries each year.
All this with a budget of about $10 million annually.
Aside from Marin’s five years of experience on the job, his background obviously can’t be considered any sort of a handicap.
He has served as an assistant Crown Attorney, Director of the province’s Special Investigations Unit and as the Canadian Forces Ombudsman.
So why the need to dump Marin?
I suspect it has much to do with the embarrassment Marin regularly causes the Ontario government when he issues reports using his typically blunt language.
It also likely has a lot to do with Marin’s insistence that the Ombudsman’s mandate should be expanded to cover what he calls the MUSH sector: Municipalities, Universities, School boards, Hospitals and long-term care facilities, as well as children’s aid societies and police.
In his last annual report Marin argued, “(t)hese are areas where thrift, sensible government and good judgment are acutely required, yet the government of Ontario declines our help, and it is costing all of us.” Now let’s get back to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.
In 2008 the Ombudsman issued a scathing report on the CICB calling it a colossal failure and criticizing its “officious and inflexible” conduct. As Marin stated, “(i)nstead of giving steadfast and urgent assistance, it trades in technicality and embraces delay.”
Things have improved at the CICB but not nearly enough. It still takes over two years for the average claim to travel from application to decision and the CICB’s maximum lump sum payment of $25,000 hasn’t been increased since it was instituted in 1971.
Worse, its recent decision in the Brenda Waudby case again demonstrates officious and inflexible conduct.
Waudby was wrongly charged and convicted of murdering her 21-month-old daughter. This thanks to the bungling of pathologist Dr. Charles Smith. Yet Waudby’s application to the CICB for compensation for her pain and suffering was dismissed. Apparently she did not meet its criteria for compensation.
If that’s the case then the criteria must be re-examined.
As Marin’s report complained “instead of providing relief, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board too often adds insult to injury.”
I’m sure Waudby would agree with that conclusion."
Teh column can be found at:
POSTED BY HAROLD LEVY AT SUNDAY, APRIL 25, 2010
Tammy Wynne's fight to prove she isn't a killer
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CTV News Video
W5: Guilty Until Proven Innocent, part one
After spending more than 13 years in prison for murder, Tammy Wynne is working to clear her name for a crime she says she didn't commit. She was found guilty of killing her son, Kenneth, and evidence used by an Ontario doctor to convict her has since been discredited.
W5: Guilty Until Proven Innocent, part two
Tammy and others who were also wrongly accused by evidence used by Dr. Charles Smith are hoping to rebuild their lives and are seeking retribution from the Ontario government, which has promised to come up with a plan to compensate those wrongly convicted by Smith's evidence.
W5 follows Tammy Wynne's fight to reverse her murder conviction in the death of her son, after it was found crucial testimony against her was provided by Ontario's notorious Dr. Charles Smith.
* The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted
* The Goudge Inquiry
* Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario
Date: Sat. Mar. 20 2010 6:49 PM ET
On the side of a gentle hill in Toronto's Pine Hills Cemetery, Tammy Wynne comes every week or two to perform a task that is every parent's nightmare. She comes here to attend the grave of her son, who died when he was a toddler.
There is no headstone to mark the place where her young son, Kenneth, was buried in 1993 -- just a small marker and the broken shards of a ceramic wolf she once placed there to guard him.
For most of the 16 years since Kenneth's death, Tammy couldn't visit his grave. She was in prison, convicted of being the person who killed him. Tammy served 13 years in custody, first in Kingston, Ont.'s Prison for Women and later in the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ont.
Now, Tammy is fighting to reverse her conviction with the help of AIDWYC -- the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted. AIDWYC won the chance to appeal Tammy's conviction because the crucial testimony against her was provided by Ontario's notorious Dr. Charles Smith -- evidence that has since been discredited.
Witness for the prosecution
For years, Dr. Smith was Ontario's pediatric homicide super-sleuth. As head of pediatric forensic pathology at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, Smith was considered the province's leading expert in determining the causes of death in children. His credentials, and the high-tech machines he used, impressed investigators, judges and juries. When he testified in court that his CAT scans and other high-tech devices revealed previously undetected signs of child abuse, he was believed.
But Smith was incompetent. In many cases, he found evidence of crime or abuse where they did not really exist.
Tammy Wynne's conviction was only one of many linked to Dr. Smith's flawed work.
* William Mullins-Johnson served twelve years in the death of his niece Valin Johnson. Smith's testimony that the four-year-old girl had been raped and strangled was crucial in convicting him. It turned out Smith had mistaken tissue damage caused during the autopsy for evidence of violence.
* Louise Reynolds spent nearly two years in jail awaiting trial, accused of killing her daughter. Later analysis revealed that that Reynolds' daughter had likely been killed by dog bites -- not stab wounds as Dr. Smith had contended.
* To escape the possibility of a life sentence, Sherry Sherrett pled guilty and was sentenced to a year for infanticide in the death of her four-month old son, Joshua. Again, the information Dr. Smith provided investigators was found to be inaccurate and far beyond his actual expertise.
In the case of Tammy's son, Kenneth, Smith found in his post-mortem report, that he believed the child had died of asphyxiation.
Police charged Tammy with second degree murder. Protesting her innocence, Tammy refused to plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter. She said she had found Kenneth tangled in his sheets, struggling to breathe. She insisted she fought to free him and call 911 but by the time paramedics arrived it was too late. She insisted on going to trial.
The Crown presented a different scenario to the jury at Tammy's trial. They suggested that she was a young mother with limited parenting and coping skills, who was involved in an unstable marriage, and on the day that Tammy found Kenneth tangled in his sheets her then-husband was attending the birth of a child he'd fathered with a former girlfriend. The Crown's theory was that Tammy smothered Kenneth in a moment of frustration or jealousy. Buttressed by Dr. Smith's expert testimony that asphyxiation was the cause of death, the jury found Tammy guilty. She was sentenced to life in prison, which includes a mandatory requirement of no parole for at least 10 years.
Revisiting the evidence
It took years for Ontario's justice system to catch on to the flaws in Dr. Smith's work, but, finally, in 2007 an official inquiry led by Ontario Appeals Court Justice Stephen Goudge, convened to examine the problems caused by Dr. Smith's findings in a number of cases that had resulted in convictions now believed to be erroneous.
When they reviewed Smith's autopsy of Tammy's son, Kenneth, two independent pathologists concluded that Smith's finding that the boy had died of asphyxiation was not scientifically justified. One noted that Kenneth had suffered from a well-documented seizure disorder that could also have caused his death.
As a result, both pathologists ruled that no cause of death could have been reasonably determined in his case. One of them wrote that Smiths's conclusions were "illogical" and "completely against scientific evidence-based reasoning." Those crushing rebukes of Smith's work constituted enough new evidence that AIDWYC lawyer James Lockyer won Tammy a chance to appeal her conviction. Tammy was released from prison on bail, until the appeal can be heard. The Ontario Court of Appeal has yet to set a date.
Tammy's triple loss
In Tammy's case, the tragedy of losing one child was compounded by the loss of two other sons. Keith was born in 1994 while Tammy was awaiting trial. Eric was born two years later, after his mother had been convicted and sent to prison. Both children were apprehended at birth by Ontario's Children's Aid Society. To spare them a life in foster care and the near-certainty that they would be separated, Tammy agreed to surrender her parental rights and allow them to be adopted -- on the condition that they were kept together.
She managed to maintain contact with the boys for a couple of years, but thereafter the adoptive parents cut off all contact.
"They said they were their children and not mine anymore," said Tammy.
She was told that the two are "with a good family" – but has no idea where they are, what their names are, or if they have been told anything about her. Photos of the boys at Christmas and taking a bath, when they had already been placed with their new adoptive parents, is all that she has of them.
Tammy now lives with the hope that she will be cleared of Kenneth's death. Although the province cannot restore the sons she gave up for adoption to her, nor give her the years back in which she would have raised them as her own, she does hope that she can someday be a part of their lives.
Her dream is that they will be proud of the woman who fought for so many years to prove that she was innocent.
"I just know that I'm the only one that can tell Keith and Eric the truth about what happened. And I hope that one day they do come find me so I can tell them the truth."
THERE IS A VIDEO TO THIS ARTICLE PLEASE CLICK THE LINK TO VIEW IT.
Access to Information Request Form
(please visit this link to get the links) http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/tbsf-fsct/350-57-eng.asp
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* Access to Information Request Form (TBC/CTC 350-57) (RTF)
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Instructions for completing the form:
1. Determine which federal government institution is most likely to have the information you are seeking.
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3. Forward the access request to the Coordinator of the institution holding the information. Enclose a $5.00 money order or cheque. Note: Cheques and money orders are payable to the Receiver General for Canada with some exceptions. Please refer to Info Source – Sources of Federal Government Information - Section I -- Institutions Without Receiver General Accounts for a list of institutions to which Access to Information Requests must be accompanied by cheques or money orders made out to the institution itself and not to the Receiver General for Canada.
WHAT IS THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST?
Freedom of information legislation are rules that guarantee access to data held by the state. They establish a "right-to-know" legal process by which requests may be made for government-held information, to be received freely or at minimal cost, barring standard exceptions. Also variously referred to as open records or (especially in the United States) sunshine laws, governments are also typically bound by a duty to publish and promote openness. In many countries there are constitutional guarantees for the right of access to information, but usually these are unused if specific support legislation does not exist.
Over 85 countries around the world have implemented some form of such legislation. Sweden's Freedom of the Press Act of 1766 is the oldest.
Main article: Freedom of information in Canada
In Canada, the Access to Information Act allows citizens to demand records from federal bodies. The act came into force in 1983, under the Pierre Trudeau government, permitting Canadians to retrieve information from government files, establishing what information could be accessed, mandating timelines for response. This is enforced by the Information Commissioner of Canada.
There is also a complementary Privacy Act, introduced in 1983. The purpose of the Privacy Act is to extend the present laws of Canada that protect the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves held by a federal government institution and that provide individuals with a right of access to that information. It is a Crown copyright. Complaints for possible violations of the Act may be reported to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
Canadian access to information laws distinguish between access to records generally and access to records that contain personal information about the person making the request. Subject to exceptions, individuals have a right of access to records that contain their own personal information under the Privacy Act but the general public does not have a right of access to records that contain personal information about others under the Access to Information Act.
Each province and territory in Canada has its own access to information legislation. in many cases, this is also the provincial public sector privacy legislation. For example:
* Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Alberta)
* Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Manitoba)
* Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Nova Scotia)
* Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Ontario)
* Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Saskatchewan)
* Act respecting access to documents held by public bodies and the protection of personal information (Quebec)
From 1989 to 2008, requests made to the federal government were catalogued in the Coordination of Access to Information Requests System.
A 393 page report released in September 2008, sponsored by several Canadian newspaper groups, compares Canada’s Access to Information Act to the FOI laws of the provinces and of 68 other nations:Fallen Behind: Canada’s Access to Information Act in the World Context.
In 2009, The Walrus (magazine) published a detailed history of FOI in Canada.
Other countries are working towards introducing such laws, and many regions of countries with national legislation have local laws. For example, all states of the United States have laws governing access to public documents of state and local taxing entities, in addition to that country's Freedom of Information Act which governs records management of documents in the possession of the federal government.
A related concept is open meetings legislation, which allows access to government meetings, not just to the records of them. In many countries, privacy or data protection laws may be part of the freedom of information legislation; the concepts are often closely tied together in political discourse.
A basic principle behind most freedom of information legislation is that the burden of proof falls on the body asked for information, not the person asking for it. The requester does not usually have to give an explanation for their request, but if the information is not disclosed a valid reason has to be given.
HOW TO APPLY?
Access to Information Act
The following procedures should be followed when making a formal request under the Access to Information Act.
* Obtain an Access to Information Request form from the Treasury Board Secretariat web site: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/tbsf-fsct/350-57-eng.asp). If the form is not used, a letter may be sent instead. See the instructions below.
* Enclose the application fee.
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If a letter is submitted instead of the Access to Information Request form, the following information must be included:
* statement that the information is being requested under the Access to Information Act:
* name of the appropriate federal government institution;
* description of the records (be as specific as possible);
* preferred method of viewing the records (e.g. receiving photocopies of the original documents or viewing the originals in the government office where they are located);
* name, street, address, city or town, province or territory, postal code, telephone number(s) and signature of the applicant;
* date of request; and
* application fee.
Fees and costs
An application fee of $5 applies and additional costs may be charged for each request. Applicants will be notified in advance if there are additional costs and if a deposit is required.
Cheques and money orders are payable to the Receiver General of Canada with some exceptions.
Please refer to Section F - Institutions Without Receiver General Accounts for a list of federal government institutions to which access to information requests must be accompanied by cheques or money orders made out to the institution itself and not to the Receiver General of Canada.
Time to process a request
Under the Access to Information Act, federal government institutions must acknowledge a request within 30 days, however, in special cases, more time may be needed to process a request. Applicants who feel that it is taking too long to process their requests may submit a complaint to the Office of the Information Commissioner (See Section A – Roles and Responsibilities).
The following procedures should be followed when making a formal request under the Privacy Act.
* Obtain a Personal Information Request Form from the Treasury Board Secretariat web site: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/tbsf-fsct/350-58-eng.asp).
* Send the form to the Privacy Coordinator of the appropriate federal institution. A list of federal government ATIP Coordinators is available at: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/atip-aiprp/apps/coords/index-eng.asp.
There is no fee to apply for information under the Privacy Act.
To change personal information
If an individual believes that the personal information a federal institution has on file about them is untrue or misleading, they may ask to have it corrected. Even if the institution does not agree to change this information, it must make a note that a request for the change was made and attach the note to the file.
Time to process a request
Under the Privacy Act, all or most of the information requested should be provided to an applicant within 30 days of receiving the request. If a time extension is required, the applicant will be notified within the first 30 days and told why up to another 30 days may be needed. Applicants who feel that it is taking too long to process their requests may submit a complaint to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (See Section A – Roles and Responsibilities).
Victims of 'flawed' pathology reports in Ont. to get compensation
TORONTO — The Ontario government announced Tuesday it will compensate families who were victims of flawed pediatric forensic pathology by Dr. Charles Smith between 1981 and 2001.
A highly publicized inquiry set up in 2007 and led by Judge Stephen T. Goudge found Smith made false conclusions of foul play in 19 of 45 pediatric autopsies that led to wrongful prosecutions of parents and caregivers.
The Goudge inquiry condemned the failings in the practice and oversight of pediatric forensic pathology at Toronto's world-renowned Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), where Smith worked until 2005.
Chester Misener, a retired judge of the Superior Court of Justice, will look at each case to determine eligibility and the amount each individual will receive.
Individuals may be eligible for a recognition payment of as much as $250,000. A child of an accused who was removed from the home may be eligible for a payment of as much as $25,000.
A family member directly affected by a relative's involvement with the criminal justice system may receive a payment of as much as $12,500. And people who incurred legal costs in their defence or on behalf of others may also be reimbursed for that amount.
© Copyright (c) Postmedia News
Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/Victims+flawed+pathology+reports+compensation/3381647/story.html#ixzz0wEIAAnPe
at 14:00 on August 10, 2010, EDT.
People wrongfully convicted on testimony of Dr. Charles Smith to be compensated
The Canadian Press
TORONTO - People whose lives were "significantly impacted" because of flawed forensic pathology by Dr. Charles Smith will be compensated by the Ontario government.
The province is offering what it calls "recognition payments" for those who were wrongfully convicted based, in part, on Smith's evidence.
A total of 19 cases will be reviewed over the next 90 days to determine eligibility and the amount each individual will receive, with a top payment of $250,000.
A child of an accused who was removed from the home may be eligible for up to $25,000.
A family member directly affected by their relative's involvement with the criminal justice system may get up to $12,500, while others may be reimbursed for legal costs up to that amount.
A judicial inquiry into Smith's work found the pathologist's testimony was responsible, in part, for several people being wrongfully convicted of killing children and being sentenced to prison.
William Mullins-Johnson, who spent 12 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of the rape and murder of his four-year-old niece, launched a $13-million lawsuit against six doctors, including Smith.
Content Provided By Canadian Press.
No longer a 'baby killer'
Woman wins her 10-year battle to beat evidence of shamed doc
By KEVIN CONNOR, SUN MEDIA
Last Updated: December 8, 2009 5:34am
Sherry Sherret-Robinson no longer carries the title of baby killer.
Yesterday, the Ontario Court of Appeal acquitted her of infanticide charges laid after the death of her four-month-old baby, Joshua, in 1999. Sherret-Robinson, of Trenton, was convicted largely by false testimony given by disgraced pathologist Dr. Charles Smith.
"This is a huge sigh of relief to finally have this behind me. (Baby killer) stays with you no matter where you go," Sherret-Robinson, 34, said. "The acquittal means a lot. It has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. Now I don't have to continue to say, 'I didn't do it.' It is just a relief to be a normal person."
After the charges in 1999, the Children's Aid Society took her son Austin, who was adopted.
Austin is now 15 and Sherret-Robinson legally can't see him until he is 18 -- and only if the teen wishes to meet her.
"I hope he will know the truth, but that isn't up to me; it is up to his adoptive parents. I would give anything to get him back," Sherret-Robinson said.
Smith testified Joshua was smothered and said he found a skull fracture and neck haemorrhages.
In 2006, Joshua's body was exhumed and three pathologists refuted Smith's findings and went as far as to say the neck haemorrhages were caused by Smith during the autopsy. The three experts concluded Joshua died because of "a hazardous sleeping environment" containing too many blankets that bunched up around his head in a make-shift crib.
"If what we know today we knew back then, she wouldn't have been convicted. Thirteen years ago her baby died and she spent a year in jail as a baby killer," said her lawyer, James Lockyer. "She has lost two children and has had to live with this for so long."
An inquiry into 20 of Smith's cases where people were wrongfully convicted revealed he believed in family values.
"I know there were other victims of Smith. Hopefully I can be a support for them," Sherret-Robinson said.
Sherret-Robinson -- who spent a year in jail -- was the subject of a miscarriage of justice, Justice Mark Rosenburg said.
"It's no surprise to anyone that you are being acquitted. Experts found serious errors and found Dr. Smith's findings wrong," Rosenburg said. "The child's death was compounded by the mother being wrongfully convicted and spending a year in jail and the loss of her other child."
Sherret-Robinson said she isn't looking for financial compensation and having her name cleared is enough.
She's expecting a baby girl in April and has another daughter named Madison.
LEGACY OF PAIN
THE FLAWED SCIENCE OF DR. CHARLES SMITH
Sherry Sherret-Robinson is just one victim of the flawed science of disgraced pathologist Dr. Charles Smith who routinely lied under oath at trials.
His work sparked an inquest into dozens of cases where he helped wrongfully convict the innocent.
Here are a few examples:
- William Mullins-Johnson spent 12 years in jail after Dr. Charles Smith wrongfully testified in 1994 he strangled and sexually assaulted his young niece. Smith lost evidence in the case but still helped convict Mullins-Johnson. Smith didn't perform an autopsy but testified the girl had been sodomized. Other pathologists determined the little girl died of natural causes. Mullins-Johnson was the first to have his conviction overturned by the Ontario Court of Appeal in October 2007.
- Brenda Waudby was arrested in 1997 after her toddler died. She was charged with beating her little girl to death, but a male baby sitter later confessed. During the toddler's autopsy, Smith found a pubic hair in the toddler's vagina but didn't turn the evidence over to police for five years. He also didn't perform a standard rape kit, which would have convicted the baby sitter.
- Roy Simmons was also wrongfully convicted. In 1993, he was feeding formula to his grandson, who had a history of choking and stopped breathing. Smith convinced a jury the baby suffered head injuries and Simmons went to jail for seven years until a review cleared his name.
- Louise Reynolds was charged in 1997 with killing her seven-year-old daughter. Smith testified that Reynolds stabbed her daughter to death 82 times with a pair of scissors. Other pathologists later determined the little girl had been mauled to death by a neighbour's pit bull.