Crown lawyers in 1982 wrongful-conviction case didn't know any better: lawyer

VANCOUVER -- British Columbia should be off the hook in a $43-million wrongful-conviction lawsuit because prosecutors back in 1982 may not have known that withholding contradictory evidence from the accused might have hamstrung his defence, says a Crown lawyer.

See Full Article

Ivan Henry is suing the province for compensation in B.C. Supreme Court, after he was convicted on 10 sexual-assault charges and spent 27 years behind bars before his 2010 acquittal.

His lawyers have said he deserves up to $43 million in compensation.

In closing arguments on Tuesday, Crown lawyer John Hunter said the legal culture was different in the early 1980s and prosecutors weren't expected to disclose all their evidence to the defence.

"Put yourself in the shoes of a prosecutor in 1982," said Hunter. "We know now that that's what should be done. ... But I say that wasn't known then."

The undisclosed evidence included sperm samples that failed to match Henry's blood type, contradictory victim statements and a compromising hand-written letter from a complainant sent to the home address of an investigating officer.

Hunter dismissed the defence's suggestion that the case's key prosecutor, Michael Luchenko, who has since died, intentionally withheld evidence, and he understood doing so would compromise Henry's ability to defend himself in court.

"It was a different time. A prosecutor's conduct should be evaluated not on the basis of what we know now but what they knew then."

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson challenged Hunter several times, questioning the attorney's assertion that Luchenko didn't understand the implications of his actions.

"I wouldn't think it's much of a leap for a prosecutor to look at statements that have inconsistencies and think, 'Gee, that might assist the defendant,"' he told Hunter. "I can't imagine how you would come to any other conclusion."

Hinkson also noted that Henry and one of his lawyers were denied documents they specifically requested from the Crown.

Hunter responded that Henry dismissed the lawyer who requested the evidence after only a few weeks on the job and his subsequent legal counsel didn't make that exact same request.

"Henry repeated it serially," interrupted Hinkson. "Surely Mr. Luchenko must have said to himself, 'I'm not going to give them what they're asking for.' What other conclusion can I draw?"

"I don't know," replied Hunter, adding that if Henry had really wanted the documents his subsequent lawyer would have been more specific.

Henry dismissed three lawyers in quick succession and refused publicly funded legal aid for his trial and sentencing hearings, opting instead to represent himself.

"Does the decision to reject publicly funded legal assistance carry with it any responsibility?" asked Hunter.

"If he hadn't fired his lawyers who knows what might have happened."

The province is expected to wrap up its final arguments by the end of the week.


Latest Canada & World News

  • Iraqi residents optimistic about ISIS defeat

    World News CTV News
    CALGARY -- It's an uneasy alliance born out of necessity. Two residents of the Kurdistan region near Iraq's second-largest city say past differences are being put aside for now to defeat the Islamic State. Source
  • Teenager attacked and tossed in river recalls darkness and pain

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A teenager who was beaten, sexually assaulted and thrown in a Winnipeg river two years ago says she continues to carry physical and emotional scars. The girl, who cannot be identified under a court order, wrote a one-page victim impact statement for the sentencing hearing of her attacker. Source
  • Video shows boy, 7, punched in stomach by parent at school

    World News Toronto Sun
    A mother in Washington, D.C., was horrified to see a school surveillance video showing a man sucker-punching her seven-year-old son in the stomach. In the clip, a man casually walks over to young John Mclean and, without provocation, punches him. Source
  • Self-driving beer truck goes nearly 200 km on delivery

    World News Toronto Sun
    DENVER - Anheuser-Busch says it has completed the world’s first commercial shipment by self-driving truck, sending a beer-filled tractor-trailer on a journey of more than 120 miles through Colorado. The company says it teamed with self-driving truck maker Otto and the state of Colorado for the feat. Source
  • As Trump falters, more Republicans say they'll block Clinton

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- A new fundraising email from House Speaker Paul Ryan's political operation, over former Speaker Newt Gingrich's signature, seeks money for Republican congressional candidates by calling the appeal "our very last chance to stop Pelosi and Hillary. Source
  • Supporters see Trump as ‘human Molotov cocktail’: Michael Moore

    World News Toronto Sun
    If Trump is elected the next president of the United States, frustrated, decent Americans will have have successfully launched “the biggest f--- you recorded in human history.” No, these words didn’t come from Trump or any of his surrogates - they’re all from the mouth of liberal documentarian Michael Moore. Source
  • Taco Bell terror allegedly beat mom over burrito

    World News Toronto Sun
    Logan Badgley was a very hungry young man and for the 22-year-old Tennessee man, only Taco Bell would do. But there were roadblocks to getting to Burrito Land. Badgley argued bitterly with his mom “because he wanted her debit card so he could go get some Taco Bell” and later, allegedly, beat her with a hockey stick when he had to go hungry. Source
  • CETA: After 3 missed deadlines, why isn't the Canada-EU summit cancelled?

    Canada News CBC News
    International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland's explanations yesterday seemed to be building toward a logical conclusion: Justin Trudeau isn't getting on a plane to Brussels this week to sign Canada's trade deal with the European Union. Except she didn't actually say that. Source
  • Complaint filed by common-law wife of Mexico's 'El Chapo'

    World News Toronto Sun
    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS First posted: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 02:05 PM EDT | Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 02:10 PM EDT Source
  • Survivors describe chaotic attack at Pakistani police academy that killed 61, injured 123

    World News CBC News
    Survivors of an overnight attack that killed 61 people at a Pakistani police academy described chaotic scenes of gunfire and explosions, with militants shooting anyone they saw and cadets running for their lives and jumping from windows and rooftops. Source