The Alberta government is now reviewing all files handled by a former pathologist at the Calgary medical examiner's office.

The investigation, announced Monday, follows a request from police last week.

Calgary police have said they're concerned about the findings from an autopsy in a criminal case. Alberta Justice has said it has confirmed the inaccurate results.

Now there are questions being raised about the accuracy of other autopsy reports.

'Oftentimes … the cause of death or an apparent cause of death is fairly obvious to us.' —Kevin Brookwell, Calgary police

The province said a dedicated prosecutor had been assigned to review all of the criminal files to which the pathologist was a party, focusing first on cases currently before the courts.

Calgary police spokesman Kevin Brookwell said the number of cases involved was unknown, but that he believes there are two pathologists serving police departments in Calgary and southern Alberta.

Brookwell noted the medical examiner's findings are only one aspect of a typical case.

"I want to put it into perspective, that oftentimes when we show up at a crime scene … the role of the medical examiner's office is just to determine the cause of death," he said.

"Oftentimes with a number of files we're involved in, the cause of death or an apparent cause of death is fairly obvious to us. So we'll launch into a criminal investigation right away based on the evidence at the scene, witness statements, [or] the body itself still being there."

2 years of records to go through

Brookwell said the investigation was kicked off after police investigators approached the pathologist for clarification on one of the autopsy files. Failing to get it, they approached the other pathologist after the first one left and asked for help.

When that pathologist went through his or her counterpart's old files, there were "some discrepancies or concerns" noted, Brookwell said.

Defence lawyers in relevant cases are being notified. One of those is Calgary lawyer Charlie Stewart, who said his firm has no objections to the work done by the pathologist.

He said it's too early to jump to conclusions, but that it's important to take these matters seriously.

"Everyone has concerns when any of these kinds of issues arise," said Stewart. "We are all very familiar with the Charles Smith case in Ontario where people were wrongfully convicted on evidence that turned out in the end not to be accurate."

The Ontario government recently said it would offer payments of up to $250,000 for each person whose life was directly affected by Dr. Charles Smith's flawed pediatric forensic pathology.

Smith was found to have made mistakes leading to dubious conclusions of criminal wrongdoing in 20 instances over a period of 10 years functioning under the Chief Coroner's Office. Thirteen of those cases resulted in criminal convictions.

The Calgary pathologist was with the medical examiner's office for two years, before leaving earlier this month.

That individual hasn't been identified by the province or the police.

The medical examiner's office investigates deaths in Alberta that occur suddenly or cannot be explained. Its function in court is to serve as a source of objective and independent analysis on the causes and manner of death.