Mr. Trotta, 38, of Oshawa, Ont., was convicted in 1998 of the
second-degree murder of his eight-month-old son Paulo, who died
in May 1993. He was sentenced to life without parole for 15
His wife was found guilty of criminal negligence
causing death and served a five-year sentence.
The convictions were based in part on the forensic evidence
of Dr. Charles Smith. His forensic pathology is now the subject
of a public inquiry after concerns, ranging from mild to
serious, were raised about his findings in 20 of 45 child
autopsies he performed after 1991.
Criminal convictions resulted in 12 of the 20 cases.
Two weeks ago, the Ontario government called a public inquiry
into Dr. Smith's work, citing the review and the possibility
that people were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned based on
Mr. Trotta was the only person who remained behind bars in
cases where Dr. Smith's testimony has been called into question.
Outside the Appeal Court, Anisa Trotta broke into a broad
smile as she realized her husband would soon be free of the
medium security Fenbrook Institution near Gravenhurst, Ont.
“I have champagne waiting,” she laughed. “First step on a
Defence lawyer Michael Lomer said it's been hell for his
“He's serving a life sentence for the murder of his child — I
can't tell you any more than that,” Mr. Lomer said minutes after
winning the bail approval from Ontario's top court.
“Levels of suffering are like degrees in Dante's “Inferno.”
How do you describe them if you're not there?”
Paulo was initially deemed to have died of natural causes,
but more than a year later, Smith did a second autopsy after
another of the Trotta children suffered a broken leg.
Dr. Smith then offered a new conclusion — that a skull
fracture could have caused the child's death — a finding Mr.
Lomer disputes based on a new forensic examination.
In October 2004, Ontario's Appeal Court upheld the
convictions, saying the Crown had presented “overwhelming
evidence” that Mr. Trotta had badly abused the infant.
Under his bail terms, Mr. Trotta will have to turn himself in
on Oct. 11, the eve of his appeal hearing before the Supreme
Court of Canada.
“We have a lot more information than we had at the time this
appeal was argued,” said Mr. Lomer, adding he was “really
pleased” an inquiry had been called.
“It's a real relief to have the true set of facts come out,”
Mr. Lomer said.
“All of the cases involving Dr. Smith have taken a long
In September 2005, William Mullins-Johnson of Sault Ste.
Marie, Ont., was ordered released from prison on $125,000 bail
after spending more than a dozen years behind bars for a rape
and murder that may never have happened.
He too had been convicted after Dr. Smith testified against
Ontario's Attorney-General Michael Bryant has said the case
against Mr. Mullins-Johnson “cannot stand.”