Federal Prisons in Canada
of Vancouver was convicted in 1983 for three counts of rape and seven counts of sexual assault. He was declared “delinquent, dangerous and needed to be restraint”. The Supreme Count of Canada refused to hear him 55 times. The British Columbia Court of Appeal determined that a series of errors were committed during Ivan Henry's trial and that the trial judge erred in his directives to the jury.At least 30 statements by police and witnesses were never disclosed to the defence along with sperm samples. He defended himself. Many of the statements were taken early in the investigation and did not apply to Ivan Henry, but over time they changed to match Henry. Science could have excluded Ivan Henry with blood tests.He was wrongfully convicted. The police have since identified another suspect.Ivan Henry spent 26 years in prison. He always proclaimed his innocence.
of Québec City was convicted in 1990 of armed sexual assault in the victim's home. The victim had described her aggressor as six feet, 175 pounds, with tattoos and no glasses. A week passed before the police visited the victim but took neither fingerprints nor DNA samples even though the blankets were covered with sperm.The police arrested Michel Dumont in December 1990: 5 foot 8, 120 pounds, with glasses but no tattoos. Michel Dumont had a clean record and a solid alibi confirmed by five people.In 1991 judge Céline Pelletier rejected his alibi, found him guilty, and sentenced him to 52 months in prison. During this period she was suspended from duty for drunk driving.In March 1992 the victim saw another man resembling Michel Dumont. This put a serious doubt in her mind about the guilt of Michel Dumont. She alerted crown attorney Nathalie Du Perron Roy who did nothing. She went to the media about her doubts and they did nothing.The Court of Appeal exonerated him in February 2001. Michel Dumont spent 3 years in prison. He was wrongfully convicted. The Attorney General presented an apology.
These wrongfully convicted cases all have the same elements: repugnant events engulfed in a media circus and an angered public wanting a quick conviction. They all have the same symptoms: tunnel vision, dubious methods, and too much zeal.
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 could have avoided shattering the lives of these victims of crimes committed by the state and those of their families and friends. It would have also saved the honour of the system.
Why the presumption of innocence and reasonable doubt were not respected remains speculative: indifference, malice, wanting to make a name for oneself, the vigilante syndrome, prejudice, incompetence, pressure, too many episodes of Rookie Blue, NCIS: LA et cetera.
Human error? Perhaps, but too many human errors is incompetence.