YOU'RE NOT ALONE!
convicted CANADIANS feel continuously RAPED of their rights.
It's TIME THAT STOPS.
TELL US YOUR STORY NOW !!!
OR read about
other Canadians fighting for their rights after a wrongful conviction.....
"Safeguards may help keep innocent from conviction"
Published in the Burlington Post on July 12, 2000
Innocent people are not supposed to be convicted
of criminal offenses in Canada. We have established many procedural
and evidentiary safeguards to ensure that this doesn't happen.
Some people believe that there are too many safeguards and that
guilty people are getting off. These critics would like to see
the rules relaxed so that it is easier to get convictions. They
don't believe that innocent people are wrongly sent to jail.
Unfortunately innocent people do get convicted and some of them
spend a long time in jail. The following are just some of the
best known examples in Canada.
In 1969, sixteen year old David
Milgaard was charged with raping and murdering Gail
Miller in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He was convicted and sentenced
to life imprisonment. In 1992, after spending more than 23 years
in jail, Milgaard was acquitted by the Supreme Court of Canada
and released. Five years later, DNA testing proved that Milgaard
had not raped Gail Miller. Tests done at the same time identified
serial rapist Larry Fisher as the actual murderer. Fisher was
finally convicted of that offense only within the past year.
In 1971, Donald Marshall, a
17 year old Micmac Indian, was charged with murder
in Sydney, Nova Scotia. He was convicted and spent 11 years in
some of Canada's toughest penitentiaries before he was exonerated
and set free. The subsequent inquiry determined that witnesses
had lied at Marshall's trial and that his defense counsel had
been kept unaware of the existence of conflicting statements
from some of the so called eyewitnesses.
In 1981, Thomas Sophonow was
charged with strangling waitress Barbara Stoppel in
Winnipeg Manitoba. He went through three trials and was convicted
twice before the Manitoba Court of Appeal acquitted him in 1985.
It was only last month however, fifteen years later, when police
and government officials apologized to Sophonow and promised
him both compensation and a public inquiry. This announcement
came after DNA tests established that Sophonow had in fact been
the wrong man.
Guy Paul Morin was 25 years
old in 1985 when he was arrested for the murder of
Christine Jessop in Queensville, Ontario. He remained in jail
for almost ten months before he was acquitted following his first
trial. This decision was overturned on appeal and a new trial
took place. Morin was convicted of first degree murder in 1992
and was sentenced to life imprisonment. He spent six months in
jail before he was released on bail pending an appeal. In 1995,
the Ontario Court of Appeal set aside the conviction and acquitted
Morin after a comparison of semen found on Christine Jessop's
panties to Morin's DNA profile demonstrated that Morin was not
the donor of the semen and after Crown counsel conceded that
the evidence proved as an indisputable scientific fact that Morin
was not guilty.
In 1990, twenty-two year old
Chris McCullogh was charged with murdering Beverley
Perrin in Hamilton. He too was convicted and spent almost nine
years in jail before being acquitted by the Ontario Court of
Appeal. Like both Morin and Sophonow, McCullogh was convicted
after jailhouse informants testified against him in return for
money and other favours.
These five young men were all wrongfully convicted
of murder in Canada. They spent time in jail before that mistake
was corrected. At age 39, David Milgaard had spent 23 years of
his life in jail for a crime he had not committed. Thank goodness
none of these men had been executed before the truth prevailed.
Some in other jurisdictions have not been so lucky.
These five are not alone. There are many other
Canadians who have been wrongfully convicted of less serious
crimes. Many of them have also gone to jail for something that
they did not do. Canada's criminal courts provide procedural
and evidentiary safeguards to accused people so that we might
keep the number of wrongfully convicted as small as possible.
That makes those safeguards worth preserving.
EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE A RIGHT TO FREEDOM
OF SPEECH as well as JUSTICE!
CHECK OUT the Ontario
Court of Appeal and
see how many cases are being heard or have already been heard
this year alone.