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

  • 1 dead, 14 injured in Cincinnati nightclub shooting

    World News CTV News
    CINCINNATI -- At least two people opened fire inside a crowded nightclub early Sunday morning, killing one person and wounding more than a dozen others in what authorities described as a chaotic scene. It was not clear what prompted the shooting at the Cameo club about 1:30 a.m. Source
  • Belarus police arrest over 400 protesters; many are beaten

    World News CTV News
    MINSK, Belarus -- Police in Belarus cracked down hard Saturday on opposition protesters who tried to hold a forbidden demonstration in the capital - a human rights group said more than 400 people were arrested and many were beaten. Source
  • Al Qaeda leader killed by U.S. airstrike: Pentagon

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- A U.S. counterterrorism airstrike earlier this month in Afghanistan killed an al-Qaida leader responsible for a deadly hotel attack in Islamabad in 2008 and the 2009 attack on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team, the Pentagon said Saturday. Source
  • 1 dead in Vegas Strip shooting, gunman surrenders

    World News Toronto Sun
    LAS VEGAS — A man riding on a double decker bus on the Las Vegas Strip pulled a gun and started shooting, killing one person and wounding another before barricading himself inside in a standoff that lasted hours before he finally surrendered. Source
  • Hong Kong set to get new leader as anointed by Beijing

    World News CTV News
    HONG KONG -- A committee dominated by pro-Beijing elites cast ballots Sunday to choose Hong Kong's next leader in the first such vote since 2014's huge pro-democracy protests. The election committee's 1,194 members voted at a downtown exhibition centre, with the city's former No. Source
  • Four found dead in B.C. home Friday afternoon: RCMP

    Canada News CTV News
    ASHCROFT, B.C. -- Four people were found dead in a home in a remote community in the B.C. Interior, RCMP said Saturday. Officers found the bodies when responding to a request for a check at a home in Venables Valley near Ashcroft on Friday afternoon. Source
  • Mounties confirm March 17 deaths in Moberly Lake, B.C., a double murder-suicide

    Canada News CTV News
    CHETWYND, B.C. -- RCMP say the deaths of three people found in a Moberly Lake, B.C., residence earlier this month was a double murder-suicide. Officers responded to reports of a disturbance in a subdivision in the remote northeastern community on the morning of March 17. Source
  • Dozens protest killing of journalist in northern Mexico

    World News CTV News
    MEXICO CITY - About 100 journalists and free speech supporters demonstrated Saturday to protest the killing of a Mexican reporter gunned down in the northern state of Chihuahua on Thursday. Miroslava Breach was the third journalist to be killed this month in one of the most dangerous countries for media workers. Source
  • Canada may yet have peacekeeping boots on the ground in 2017

    Canada News CBC News
    The Liberal government has yet to formally serve notice to the United Nations that it's ready to join international peacekeeping operations — something Prime Minister Justin Trudeau downplayed on Saturday. He insisted Canada might still have boots on the ground in 2017, which would head off a major embarrassment given that Canada is hosting a major gathering of peacekeeping nations later this year. Source
  • 'It got me out of the house,' Alberta woman sees 500 shows in 6 years after husband's death

    Canada News CBC News
    An Alberta woman had a hard time keeping it together after her husband passed away a few years ago. "When he first died it was really hard to talk to people because my voice would break," Sandy Moser told Daybreak Alberta. Source