How is the prosecution handling a double homicide case involving an Ontario pathologist charged with implicating his wife in a double homicide?
The crisis in confidence over Dr. David Zar — the pathologist and coroner in charge of the Ontario Coroner’s Office — was brought to light by the media after it received numerous allegations of wrongdoing.
He was put on leave after The Citizen released an allegation from an alleged victim’s daughter that Zar “intentionally and knowingly misdiagnosed a young woman in a river of blood.” The coroner’s office then immediately placed Zar on paid leave after it also received an allegation about him conducting autopsies on graves.
Zar stands accused of implicating his wife, Dr. Monica Zar, in a double homicide investigation in Toronto last year.
A big cloud hangs over Dr. Zar’s career and the professional reputation of the entire Office of the Chief Coroner because of the prolonged and highly damaging publicity about his alleged self-interests in the proceedings.
In many ways, the chief coroner is charged with acting as the chief guardian and protector of all of Ontario’s vulnerable citizens, and the various allegations leveled against Dr. Zar also involve allegations of misconduct in his discharge of that duty.
He is also the chief expert witness in lawsuits brought against the Office of the Chief Coroner in Ontario.
The disturbing and potentially career-impairing situation of a chief pathologist facing accusations of malfeasance raises an array of institutional problems and questions.
The compounded interweaving of these problems make this a major scandal.
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First, is there really proof that Dr. Zar was in any way guilty of grievous misconduct in the double murder case?
Specifically, is he, as The Citizen alleges, dishonestly misdiagnosing a serious health problem in a patient or burying victims of a crime that he either couldn’t possibly have done or actively sought to do?
Next, is there a good reason why he hasn’t been charged and arraigned on an official misconduct charge?
Finally, is there any way to resolve this crisis?
I do not believe in judicial proceedings where witnesses cannot be identified — or their testimony made public. The courtroom at one point allowed a criminal defendant, suspected of a double murder, to remain silent as it tried to find ways to keep a witness quiet.
Dr. Zar denies the allegations against him. His lawyer issued a statement calling them “complete garbage.”
In the meantime, Dr. Zar is a suspect and he is prevented from performing autopsies or reading autopsy reports.
It is his partner in crime, Dr. Monica Zar, who has admitted to being the woman whose body was found in the Toronto river.
The story illustrates the common problem of medical professionals operating in an institutionalized situation where they can flourish if they do what they are told and what they’re paid for. But when they do not, the elite position comes with a host of temptations and temptations to participate in malpractice suits.
Anyone who has been to a police interview knows that the most effective response to malpractice accusations usually involves getting the person involved to plead guilty.
Will Dr. Zar ever face criminal charges related to his alleged involvement in the Toronto double homicide case?
That depends on whom you ask.
Will the bureaucrats and barony of Ontario do something to address this problem now, or will we continue to wait until Dr. Zar’s reputation and career are in tatters?
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Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is “God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values.” Follow Todd on Twitter @ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.