The trial of a Niagara man accused of killing his grandson takes a twist


The trial of a St. Catharine’s man accused of killing his own grandson has taken a turn. The judge, who is determining the man’s fate, opened the doors to another possibility of conviction.

Brian Matthews has been charged with manslaughter in the case but Justice Joseph Nadel is suggesting the evidence could point to criminal negligence causing death.

13 month old Kody Smart was pronounced dead at McMaster Children’s hospital in July of 2015 after being removed from life support. A fatal head injury causing the boy’s death happened during an incident at his grandfather’s home.

While Brian Matthews claimed in that 911 call that the dog ultimately caused the injury, the crown has presented evidence from a pediatrician to suggest the trauma was inflicted by an adult and that the injuries were far too severe to have been caused by a short fall.

Justice Nedal has offered a third suggestion, criminal negligence causing death for leaving a young child alone with an 80 pound dog.

Criminal lawyer Jeff Manishen says the judge would have only made that suggestion after hearing the evidence presented.

“That the judge raises it, it seems to have come up on the radar screen and now counsel will have the opportunity to present evidence that could potentially support that theory or not support that theory.”

That takes place tomorrow, on the last day of trial. Justice Nedal will then take a matter of weeks and quite possibly months to determine a verdict.