T. Alex Hickman, judge who oversaw Donald Marshall inquiry, has died

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -- The former judge who led the royal commissions that investigated the wrongful conviction of Donald Marshall and the Ocean Ranger disaster off Newfoundland and Labrador has died.

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T. Alex Hickman died on the weekend. He was 90.

Born in Grand Bank, N.L., Hickman studied at Memorial University in St. John's and was called to the bar in 1948, starting a legal and political career that would span more than 50 years.

He served as a cabinet minister and member of the house of assembly between 1966 and 1979 before he was appointed chief justice of the trial division of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

In that role, he led the royal commission into the 1982 sinking of the Ocean Ranger offshore oil platform, which claimed the lives of 84 men.

In 1990, Hickman's report exonerated Marshall nearly 19 years after the Nova Scotia native was falsely convicted of the 1971 murder of Sandy Seale in Sydney, N.S. The report said Nova Scotia's justice system was riddled with racism, ineptitude and unfairness.

Hickman was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2003.

"Chief Justice Hickman had a profound impact on Newfoundland and Labrador in his various capacities over a career that spanned more than 50 years," provincial Justice Minister Andrew Parsons said in a statement.

"Losing someone of his stature is a great blow to the legal community and to the province as a whole."



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