After Ontario-based Dr. David Colburn revealed he held a perfunctory six-hour meeting with Ontario’s pathologist Dr. Dirk Huyer in August 2017, the chief pathologist to the Supreme Court of Canada, commented that he needed “more time” to continue his investigation of the case after being shown new files. Huyer, who is finding no evidence of a homicide or suicide, has been the focus of intense attention since his investigation began in July 2018.
Three sisters allege the St. Mary’s Hospital pathologist unfairly shifted blame on their mentally ill mother to her husband, Mary MacQuarrie, for the deaths of the three young children in the now infamous “death rooms.” The long-time attorney for the mother, Marisa MacQuarrie, said he only found out about the preliminary meeting with Huyer from a news report in April. “This was absolutely critical information that should have been disclosed to me by Mr. Colburn earlier,” Mr. MacQuarrie told the Toronto Star. “I had virtually nothing to say. I will say I was deeply disturbed and angered and devastated.”
Mary and Allan MacQuarrie have been out of the public eye since the deaths of their children in 1997 and 2000. Mary reportedly suffers from a paranoid disorder and a diet of street drugs. Huyer has suggested the high number of ice and lead deaths of Ontario’s children caused by lead poisoning in the 1990s may have cost the children their lives. Mr. MacQuarrie, who died in 2006, alleges that his family suffered the “death rooms” despite their wealth and stability. Since the families first approached Huyer in 2017, their oldest children, Kathleen, Kelly and Madeline, have spoken about the matter in public.
The Globe and Mail broke the story of the preliminary meeting between Colburn and Huyer in an investigation this week. The investigation found at least nine physicians and scientific bodies in Canada all confirmed to the Globe and Mail that preliminary meetings are not uncommon for pathologists involved in major criminal investigations. The two pathologists have since refused to speak to any media outlets. A spokesperson for the Canada Medical Association, a support group for Ontario physicians, said it doesn’t consider the fact that some of its members participated in a preliminary meeting with Colburn in the case a matter of concern.
“In this case, the St. Mary’s Hospital pathologist conducted consultations with other pathologists across Canada and invited other experts to be present at his final report before the inquest,” said Katherine Devine, Director of Community Relations and Development. “According to judicial directives, medical examiners have an open relationship with the court. In this case, Dr. Colburn shared with medical examiners the timelines of the case. In this case, experts in pathology and other scientific fields were invited to offer their opinions on Dr. Colburn’s preliminary report as he was preparing to sign it in the name of the judicial inquest jury.”
The Globe and Mail has published a further investigation alleging that Huyer was offered a financial settlement in exchange for blocking a full investigation. The $1 million settlement was never paid and the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that Huyer cannot be barred from stating that he was offered a payment. But on Wednesday, a lawyer representing the family, Peter Bronfman, filed a motion to stop Huyer from telling the court he was offered the settlement in exchange for a gag order, to which the pathologist’s lawyers object. As a result, the court has yet to rule on the matter.
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