Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Odelia and Nerissa Quewezance: Saskatchewan: Wrongful confession (and much more) case; Major (Welcome) Development: The sisters have been released on bail (after spending 30 years in custody ) while the case is under ministerial review," APTN News (Reporter Danielle Paradis) reports.."James Lockyer, a Toronto-based lawyer with Innocence Canada, who is representing the sisters said that this was a big step, but there was still more work ahead. “The purpose of this is to get [the sisters’] convictions quashed so that their names are clear,” said Lockyer. The Innocence Canada lawyer also said he has experienced a lack of cooperation from the Crown prosecutors office who have refused to provide the evidence that they have against the sisters from the second-degree murder conviction. The sisters are the first Indigenous women to apply for a ministerial review, said Lockyer."

BACKGROUND: (From a previous post of this Blog): "Nicole Porter, advocate for Indigenous Rights and wrongfully convicted said Saskatchewan’s racist system rushed for a conviction in the 90’s. She said the sisters were Indigenous and rural Saskatchewan racism was against them. “These girls were downright mistreated by our system. During the police interrogation and even after their sentencing, being Indigenous was a factor held against them.” Porter said the mistreatment started from day one. A justice of the peace had issued remand warrants ordering that the sisters be remanded to Pine Grove Correctional Centre for women but instead they were held for five days by Saskatchewan RCMP and interrogated. Porter said no recordings of those interrogations were saved and the interrogations went against the remand warrant. “Authorities at the time directly disobeyed and continued to interrogate them.” Porter said there is no physical evidence against the sisters and pointed out that during their trial in the 90’s, the jury didn’t include one Indigenous person. “Because of the systemic racism, they were out for a pound of flesh and they got their conviction."


PASSAGE OF THE DAY: "On June 2, 2022, federal Justice Minister David Lametti announced that there may have been a miscarriage of justice in the sisters’ case. “On behalf of the Minister of Justice, I am writing to advise you that it has been determined there may be a reasonable basis to conclude that a miscarriage of justice likely occurred in this matter,” wrote a Department of Justice lawyer to Lockyer." That review could take eight months to complete."


STORY: "Saskatchewan judge releases Saulteaux sisters on bail while minister reviews murder case, by Reporters Danielle Paradis, published by APTN News, on March 27,  2023. (Danielle Paradis is a Métis writer, journalist, editor, educator, and podcaster who lives in Treaty 6 (Edmonton, Alberta). She has written for both local and international audiences. You can read (or hear) her work at Canadaland, Chatelaine, Toronto Star (Edmonton), Gig City, BUSTLE, Canadian True Crime Podcast, The Sprawl and now APTN News. She  covers politics, arts and culture, and Indigenous Issues.)

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue/resource. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. 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: Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;


FINAL WORD: (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases): "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices."

Lawyer Radha Natarajan:

Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;


FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions. They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!

Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;



David Hammond, one of Broadwater’s attorneys who sought his exoneration, told the Syracuse Post-Standard, “Sprinkle some junk science onto a faulty identification, and it’s the perfect recipe for a wrongful conviction.”