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.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 'Plate-shaming' is happening in Atlantic Canada as locals fear those from outside the 'bubble'

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Atlantic Canada’s reputation for being warm and welcoming has long been a source of pride. But instead of hospitality, the pandemic is exposing a glimpse of hostility aimed at those who are assumed to be outsiders. Source
  • Dengue fever prevention efforts stifled by coronavirus pandemic

    World News CTV News
    JAKARTA, INDONESIA -- To slow the spread of the coronavirus, governments issued lockdowns to keep people at home. They curtailed activities that affected services like trash collection. They tried to shield hospitals from a surge of patients. Source
  • Exit poll show Poland's Duda leading in presidential runoff

    World News CTV News
    WARSAW, POLAND -- A late exit poll in Poland's presidential runoff Sunday showed the conservative, populist incumbent, Andrzej Duda, leading against the liberal, pro-Europe mayor of Warsaw, but with the race still too close to call. Source
  • 21 injured in fire aboard ship at Naval Base San Diego

    World News CTV News
    SAN DIEGO -- Twenty-one people suffered minor injuries in an explosion and fire Sunday on board a ship at Naval Base San Diego, military officials said. The blaze was reported shortly before 9 a.m. on USS Bonhomme Richard, said Mike Raney, a spokesman for Naval Surface Force, US Pacific Fleet. Source
  • Quebec-Indigenous relations improved after Oka Crisis, but could be stalling under Legault

    Canada News CBC News
    Thirty years ago, as Konrad Sioui walked past the armed barricades near Oka, Que., he spotted the blood of a provincial police officer who had been killed in a shoot-out the day before. Twenty-four hours earlier, the Sûreté du Québec had tried to dislodge Kanesatake Mohawks from a sacred patch of land they were defending from a golf-course development. Source
  • 11 injured in fire aboard ship at California naval base

    World News CBC News
    Eleven people suffered minor injuries after an explosion and fire Sunday on board a ship at Naval Base San Diego, military officials said. The blaze was reported shortly before 9 a.m. local time on USS Bonhomme Richard, said Krishna Jackson, the base's public information officer. Source
  • 21 injured in fire aboard ship at California naval base

    World News CBC News
    Eleven people suffered minor injuries after an explosion and fire Sunday on board a ship at Naval Base San Diego, military officials said. The blaze was reported shortly before 9 a.m. local time on USS Bonhomme Richard, said Krishna Jackson, the base's public information officer. Source
  • Trump, Biden try to outdo each other on tough talk on China

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- China has fast become a top election issue as U.S. President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden engage in a verbal brawl over who's better at playing the tough guy against Beijing. The Trump campaign put out ads showing Biden toasting China's Xi Jinping, even though Trump did just that with Xi in Asia and hosted the Chinese leader at his Florida club. Source
  • 'The most American thing ever': Video of Calgary man rescuing baby bald eagle from lake goes viral

    Canada News CBC News
    Calgary resident Brett Bacon, along with partner Lindsay and his newborn child, were speeding down Lake Windermere in British Columbia on July 4 when they spotted something odd in the water. As the boat drew closer, Bacon realized there was a large bird floating in the water with its wings spread — a young bald eagle. Source
  • Pope 'deeply pained' over Turkey's move on Hagia Sophia

    World News CTV News
    VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis said on Sunday that he is “deeply pained” over the decision by Turkey to change the status of Hagia Sophia - which was originally built in Istanbul as a Christian cathedral -- from a museum to a mosque. Source