Wrongfully convicted man sues government after 27 years in jail

A jail cell door. Stock photo by Getty Images.

A British Columbia man who spent 27 years in prison on a wrongful conviction is suing the federal government, the province, and the City of Vancouver for damages.

Ivan Henry was convicted of 10 counts of sexual assault in 1983. It took 27 years and 40 applications from Henry and his daughter for the B.C. Court of Appeal to overturn his conviction.

Henry’s lawyer John Laxton blames the wrongful conviction on a flawed police investigation and a shabby job by Crown prosecutors.

During the trial, one prosecutor had e-mailed another saying if one girl could identify Henry, they could link him to all the others. Additionally, one complainant had sent a handwritten letter to an investigating police officer saying: “I don’t want to let you down . . . take care of those blue eyes and don’t work too hard” as her reason for identifying Henry as the perpetrator.

Things got worse. The defence was not told that some of the sperm found on some complainants did not match Henry’s blood type.

Henry wanted to sue the prosecutors for negligence after his acquittal but the lower courts did not agree. The issue came before the Supreme Court of Canada. The Supreme Court sided with Henry in January and ruled the Charter of Rights and Freedoms allows courts to award damages against the Crown for prosecutorial misconduct. This meant Henry could sue the prosecutors.

His wrongful conviction lawsuit is set for a 100-day trial. It will be interesting to see whether Henry will be successful and what damages he will get if any.

Alberta men charged with possessing baby porn

Warning, this is a disturbing piece of news.

Eight Alberta men are charged with possessing and accessing pornographic material and making it available. Some of the images that led to the charges show extreme sexual abuse of children as young as six months old.

As a result of a collaborative police investigation between the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT), the RCMP, and various municipal police forces, 85 computers were seized from the accused, which hosted more than 100,000 porn photos.

The suspects are between 27 to 60 years old.

No preliminary hearing for B.C. polygamist

For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until a criminal conviction do us part.

Winston Blackmore, the leader of a fundamentalist Mormon commune in British Columbia, is heading straight to trial on polygamy charges. He is alleged to have more than two dozen wives.

The B.C. Ministry of the Attorney General has allowed the prosecutor to proceed directly to trial without a preliminary hearing first.

A preliminary hearing is a step in criminal proceedings, where the prosecutor has to convince a judge that the Crown possesses enough evidence to take a case to trial. The attorney general, however, can do away with this stage if it is in the public interest.

Given the nature of the polygamy charges, it is anticipated the Crown will have a number of witnesses. To protect these witnesses. among other reasons, the AG has granted the Crown’s request to proceed with a direct indictment.

The Criminal Code says everyone who practises, or enters into any form of polygamy, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

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