Federal Prisons in Canada
of Saskatoon accused at seventeen for the rape and murder of twenty year old nurse Gail Miller left dying at the scene of the crime after having been stabbed twelve times. He was convicted in 1969.In January 1971 the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal rejected David Milgaard's motion of appeal. The Supreme Court of Canada rejected his appeal in November 1971.Freed in 1992 by the Supreme Court, the RCMP found no new evidence, in 1994, to exonerate David Milgaard. In July 1997, after 23 years of prison, David Milgaard is exonerated thanks to DNA tests: the sperm was not his. The government extended an apology. He was falsely accused.Larry Fisher, the real killer, is later arrested and condemned in 1999. In 1999 David Milgaard received 10 million dollars in compensation.
a young Micmac from Nova Scotia was convicted, in 1971, of the murder of Sandy Seale stabbed in a park in Sydney.The forensic experts performed no autopsy and the police took no photos of the crime scene and did not find the weapon used.In 1982, a man in his seventies confessed to being the killer. In 1982 the Court of appeals acquitted Donald Marshall. A royal commission enquiry concluded that there was racism and incompetence in this affair. Donald Marshall spent 11 years of his life in prison. He was falsely accused.He received 270,000 dollars in compensation and no public apology. In 1990 Donald Marshall got 200,000 and a pension for life of three million dollars. Donald Marshall died in Nova Scotia on August 6, 2009
These falsely accused cases all have the same elements: horrific events engulfed in a media circus and an inflamed public demanding a quick conviction of a crime. They all have the same symptoms: doubtful methods, tunnel vision, and being too zealous.
This gives the impression of a non functional judicial system. This is false. There are many safeguards notably the presumption of innocence and that an accused must be found quilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The latter renders it infallible.
Reasonable doubt was omnipresent and would have avoided shattering the lives of these victims of crimes committed by the state and those of their families and friends. It would also have saved the honour of the system.
Why the presumption of innocence and reasonable doubt were not respected remains speculative: racism, incompetence, pressure, malice, indifference, wanting to make a name for oneself, the god complex, too many episodes of Law & Order, CSI: New York et cetera. In these TV series we know the guilty, in advance, and allow some latitude.
Human error? Surely, but too many human errors equals incompetence.