Forensic Pathology

From: Lawyer's Guide to the Forensic Sciences

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Discusses forensic pathology, beginning with an overview of the science of forensic pathology, touching on areas of forensic pathology relevant to criminal cases including post-mortem findings in fatal child abuse and neglect cases, as well as the identification of drugs and alcohol in homicide cases. The role of the forensic pathologist in criminal cases is also explained, and legal context is given.

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Maggie Bellis

Maggie Bellis, MB, BCh, BAO, FRCP, joined the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit in Toronto as a forensic pathologist in 2014, following residency training in forensic pathology at the University of Toronto. She completed a bachelor of science degree at Western University and received her medical training at the National University of Ireland, Cork. After completing residency training at the University of Toronto, Dr. Bellis received her FRCPC in anatomical pathology in 2013 and in forensic pathology in 2014. She is an investigative coroner for homicides and criminally suspicious deaths in Ontario.

Kristopher Cunningham

Kristopher Cunningham, MD, PhD, FRCPC, is a forensic pathologist and cardiovascular pathologist at the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit in Toronto and an assistant professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. Dr. Cunningham has an interest in the pathology of sudden death, including structural and non-structural causes of sudden cardiac death. He helped to establish the molecular autopsy laboratory of the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service (OFPS) and create a molecular autopsy program for the OFPS. Dr. Cunningham travelled as a representative of the Federal (with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade) and Ontario governments to assist in disaster victim identification following the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. He is an investigative coroner for homicides and criminally suspicious deaths in Ontario.

Anita Lal

Anita Lal, MD, D-ABP, FCAP, became a staff forensic pathologist at the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit in Toronto in 2013 and is a lecturer in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. She obtained a medical degree at Ross University in the West Indies. She completed her residency training in anatomical and clinical pathology at Wayne State University and a fellowship in forensic pathology at the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office, both in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Lal was an assistant chief medical examiner at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Calgary, Alberta, and a clinical assistant professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, before taking her position in Toronto. She has testified as an expert witness in Alberta, Michigan, and Ontario. She is an investigative coroner for homicides and criminally suspicious deaths in Ontario.

Jayantha Herath

Jayantha Herath, MD, DLM, MD (Forensic), FCAP, FRCPC (AP & FP), is a staff forensic pathologist, the medical director of the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit (Toronto) of the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service, and an assistant professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. He obtained his medical degree and master’s degree from the Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria (1993), and a post-graduate diploma in legal medicine and doctor of forensic medicine (2002) from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. He completed his residency in anatomical pathology (2010) and a fellowship in Forensic Pathology at the University of Manitoba, and obtained certification in anatomical pathology (2010) and forensic pathology (2012) from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (FRCPC). Dr. Herath worked as a medical examiner for the Province of Manitoba and as an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology of the University of Manitoba before joining the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service. He worked as a senior lecturer in the Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology at the University of Colombo and as a specialist in forensic medicine in Sri Lanka before immigrating to Canada.

Michael Pickup

Michael Pickup, MSc, MD, FRCPC, obtained his medical degree and completed residency training in anatomical pathology, followed by subspecialty fellowship training in forensic pathology at the University of Toronto. He holds certification in both anatomical and forensic pathology from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Dr. Pickup is currently a staff forensic pathologist at the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit in Toronto, an assistant professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto, and an adjunct professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Western University. He has helped develop a collaborative educational initiative between the University of Toronto’s Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology. He is an investigative coroner for homicides and criminally suspicious deaths in Ontario, and a consultant forensic pathologist to Bermuda.

Michael S Pollanen

Michael S. Pollanen, MD, PhD, FRCPath, DMJ (Path), FRCPC Founder, forensic pathology, is the chief forensic pathologist of Ontario, a professor of laboratory medicine and pathobiology at the University of Toronto, a founder of the forensic pathology program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and an investigative coroner for homicides and criminally suspicious deaths in Ontario. He oversees the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service, and directs the Centre for Forensic Science and Medicine and the Forensic Pathology Residency/Fellowship training programs at the University of Toronto. Dr. Pollanen has a special interest in capacity development of forensic medicine in low- and middle-income countries to support human rights and the rule of law. Dr. Pollanen has regularly published in the peer-reviewed literature. He provides second opinions on controversial cases (prosecution, defence, and reviews for other jurisdictions). He has conducted over 2,000 medicolegal autopsies, testified over 200 times in court, and has twice testified in the Ontario Court of Appeal, in the cases of Truscott (Re), 2007 ONCA 575 and R. v. Mullins-Johnson, 2007 ONCA 720.

Ashwyn Rajagopalan

Ashwyn Rajagopalan, MD, FRCPC, joined the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit in Toronto as a staff forensic pathologist in 2013, after completing his forensic pathology residency training at the University of Toronto. He graduated from Queen’s University with a doctor of medicine degree, and completed his residency in anatomical pathology at McMaster University. Dr. Rajagopalan is a lecturer in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. He has been a consultant to the Cayman Islands and is an investigative coroner for homicides and criminally suspicious deaths in Ontario.

Toby H Rose

Toby H. Rose, MD, FRCPC, is the deputy chief forensic pathologist of the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service and works at the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit in Toronto. Dr. Rose received a bachelor of science degree and a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Saskatchewan, and trained in anatomical pathology at the University of Toronto. She is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in anatomical pathology, a Diplomate of the American Board of Pathology in both Anatomical and Forensic Pathology, and assistant professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. She has performed more than 5,000 medicolegal autopsies and has given expert testimony in courts in Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Nunavut. Dr. Rose is an investigative coroner for homicides and criminally suspicious deaths in Ontario.

Caitlin Pakosh

Caitlin M. Pakosh, HBSc, JD, has been working as case management counsel of Innocence Canada (formerly known as AIDWYC) since 2012 and is responsible for managing the Association’s cases across Canada. She obtained her honours bachelor of science degree, specializing in forensic anthropology and earning a minor in biology, from the University of Toronto Mississauga in 2008. Her undergraduate thesis, which examined the decomposition of dismembered pig limbs enclosed in plastic bags and submerged in Lake Ontario, was conducted during her internship with the Toronto Police Service Marine Unit and published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences in 2009. Ms. Pakosh obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Calgary in 2011. She has appeared in the Court of Appeal for Ontario and has worked on intervener and appellate cases that have appeared at a variety of levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as ministerial review applications. Since 2013, Ms. Pakosh has cross-examined forensic science students in annual mock trials at the University of Toronto Mississauga, where students practise being expert witnesses. She is a member of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She is also an associate member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the Canadian Society of Forensic Science.