GIST: "There has been much buzz circulating recently around the wrongful conviction of Ivan Henry, a BC native who spent nearly 27 years behind bars for a series of sexual assaults he never committed. After being acquitted in 2010 of his 10 convictions, Henry initiated an action against the province of BC for which he sought $43M in damages. In his ruling released on June 8, 2016 Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson awarded Henry just over $8M in damages: $530K in compensatory damages for lost wages, $56,692 in special damages, and $7.5M as vindication of the gross abuse of his Charter rights. As part of his painstakingly long 97-page decision, Justice Hinkson lambasted the Province for intentionally breaching Henry’s disclosure rights under ss. 7 and 11(d) of the Charter. Using the test for wrongful non-disclosure as set out by Maldover J. in the 2015 SCC decision granting Henry’s appeal, Justice Hinkson found that the Crown intentionally withheld information that it knew was material to Henry’s defence. Some of this information included results of wiretap, DNR, and other tracking device evidence showing no link between the sexual assaults and Mr. Henry. Even more appalling was the Crown’s non-disclosure of forensic evidence showing that the perpetrator’s sperm had been located for four of the sexual assaults, and that it was not Henry’s...A second argument that the Crown tried advancing was that Henry should be held contributorily negligent for his wrongful conviction, because he chose to represent himself when legal aid was available to him. In making its argument, the Crown cited the opinion of Mdm. Justice Bennett in R v. Crichton 2015 BCCA who stated “if a person does not receive a fair trial because he or she chose to represent him or herself, even when counsel was available, the fault lies with the accused and no remedy is available.” From an access to justice perspective, this argument seems particularly disturbing. Putting issues of cost aside, why should litigants be expected to retain counsel as a pre-requisite to receiving a fair trial? Is this not a form of victim blaming? As Justice Hinkson opined, if anything, the Crown should have a heightened responsibility to ensure that the defendant be treated fairly when he or she has no advocate acting on his or her behalf. Surely, this responsibility derives from the role Crown counsel play in being “Ministers of Justice.”.........At the end of the day, whether or not the defence is represented, the Crown has a constitutional duty to ensure trial fairness by making the necessary disclosures that will allow the accused to make full answer and defence. Let us not forget the powerful words famously articulated by Justice Rand in the Boucher decision: “The role of the prosecutor excludes any notion of winning or losing; his function is a matter of public duty than which in civil life there can be none charged with greater personal responsibility.”
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See related Wikipedia report at the link below:
"Ivan William Mervin Henry is a Canadian man who was wrongly convicted on ten counts of sexual assault. He was sentenced to an indeterminate period in prison and ultimately spent 27 years in jail before his conviction was quashed. Henry was arrested for a series of sexual assaults that took place in downtown Vancouver between 1980 and 1982. On March 15, 1983, Henry was convicted on ten counts of sexual assault the basis of weak identification evidence. He was given an indeterminate prison sentence and declared a dangerous offender. Attacks similar to Henry's alleged crimes continued after he was incarcerated. In 2002, the Vancouver police re-opened 25 unsolved sexual assaults that took place between 1983 and 1988 in the same areas of Vancouver and the assaults for which Henry was convicted. Another man, who had been a suspect in police investigation of Henry, was linked to three of these later offences through DNA evidence, and later pleaded guilty to these crimes. On the basis of the similarities between the assaults, Vancouver prosecutors alerted the Attorney General and a special prosecutor was appointed to investigate Henry's conviction and the potential miscarriage of justice. In 2008, the special prosecutor recommended that the Crown not oppose efforts by Henry to reopen his appeal. In 2010, the British Columbia Court of Appeal quashed Henry's conviction and entered acquittals on all charges. Justice Low held that "the verdict on each count was not one that a properly instructed jury acting judicially could reasonably have rendered." It is believed that no one in Canadian history has spent more time in jail before being subsequently acquitted. Henry has brought a civil suit against the BC government, Vancouver police, and others for compensation. The issue of whether Henry is entitled to civil compensation for the breach of his Charter rights has worked its way through appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada. On June 9, 2014, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin stated the constitutional question in this case as follows: "Does s. 24(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms authorize a court of competent jurisdiction to award damages against the Crown for prosecutorial misconduct absent proof of malice?" On May 1, 2015 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on that question in Henry's favour. On June 8, 2016 Henry was awarded 8 million dollars for his wrongful imprisonment."
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The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:
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