The Ontario Court of Appeal has acquitted a man found guilty of manslaughter in the death of his partner's 17-month-old son more than two decades ago, saying the original conviction relied on flawed evidence from a disgraced pathologist.
A decision from the court says Bernard Doyle, found guilty in 1997, would not be convicted again given the fresh expert evidence provided about the fall that killed Tyler Cunningham, after he hit his head on construction tools in a Cambridge, Ont., home.
Doyle had claimed that he was dancing vigorously with Tyler in his arms when he accidentally tripped and fell.
The appeals court says testimony from then-pathologist Charles Smith that Tyler died from combination of blunt force trauma and shaken baby syndrome had been discredited, grouping the guilty verdict "in the long list of wrongful convictions" brought about by Smith's "unreliable expert evidence."
Doyle, 23 at the time of Tyler's death, has long-since completed his nearly four-year prison term following his conviction.
Defence lawyer James Lockyer says Doyle now lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and is relieved to have been exonerated.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 13, 2023.
The Canadian Press