Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Another obstacle for wrongly convicted man

Another obstacle for wrongly convicted man
Last Updated: June 16, 2010 6:53pm

A lost autopsy report has blocked Roy Simmons' attempt to have his name cleared.
Roy Simmons — one of the people wrongfully convicted and jailed by disgraced pathologist Dr. Charles Smith — just wants his name cleared.

But the Ontario Coroner’s Office has lost the independent autopsy clearing Simmons and the Crown won’t go ahead without it.

That means Simmons would have to exhume his grandson again — something the family just couldn’t take, he said.

“I’m flabbergasted,” Simmons said.

“They want me to exhume the baby after 16 years because they have no records from the independent pathologist. There is no reason for this.”

On May 1, 1993, Simmons was feeding Tyler — who had a history of choking on his formula — when the three-month-old infant stopped breathing after vomiting and getting fluid in his lungs.

Paramedics were called and Tyler was taken to the Midland hospital. Because he wasn’t breathing on his own he was put on life support.

Hospital staff were having a hard time placing the intravenous tube and they had to stick it in his head before he was air-lifted to Sick Kids.

Simmons and his daughter, Jennifer Stowe, drove to Toronto and had a meeting with doctors to find that Tyler had a fracture in his skull from the intravenous.

Tyler was later pronounced dead.

While Stowe was making funeral arrangements, the funeral director told her she couldn’t have an open casket because the coroner had removed Tyler’s eyes without permission.

Stowe says when she found out her baby had been “butchered” she almost died.

Stowe started a lawsuit against the coroner’s office and says officials told her it wouldn’t be a good idea to follow through.

A week later police busted down Simmons’ door and arrested him.

At Simmons’ manslaughter trial, Smith testified the skull fracture was not accidental and Simmons was convicted and spent seven years in jail.

This is a never-ending nightmare, Stowe said.

“We are going for an appeal, and the Crown wants the full independent autopsy report,” Stowe said. “I just can’t believe the coroner’s office misplaced the complete report. The only thing they have is the original one by Dr. Smith. I can’t for the life of me see how this could happen.

“I am sick and tired of this. I lost my son 16 years ago and I need to move on and I can’t. With all this it is like I have adopted a child — my dad. His life has been ruined and he is ready to give up.”

The Coroner’s Office didn’t have much to say about the missing autopsy.

“I don’t know where that autopsy would be, but if this is subject to an appeal I couldn’t tell you anything,” said Cheryl Mahyr of the coroner’s office.