Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Crown review out of order

  • Print

If the purpose of a Crown prosecutor is to seek justice, not conviction of the accused, Manitoba's Justice department has done a marked disservice to the review of a case now the focus of a wrongful conviction application. Justice Minister Andrew Swan must act to protect the integrity of such reviews.

Brandonite Deveryn Ross, a regular Free Press columnist and former lawyer, has spent nearly 20 years fighting a fraud conviction. This month, a Federal Court judge castigated a federal minister's decision to turn down Mr. Ross's request for a review of the 1995 conviction, calling it unjustified and lacking in intelligibility. The judge tossed the case back into the lap of current Justice Minister Peter MacKay.

Equally troubling, however, is how Manitoba handled its role in the review request. The Justice Department hired the same Crown attorney (no longer with the department) who put Mr. Ross in jail to prepare the provincial response. This is inherently wrong, inviting bias into the response the province sends to Ottawa.

The criticism of Mr. Nicholson and Manitoba's hiring of the interested prosecutor underscore the necessity of independence in reviews of wrongful-conviction applications. A prosecutions office cannot be asked to rethink its own role in such cases. Reviews that rest with political office have been found to be slow, cumbersome and fraught with problems.

Canada has refused to adopt the independent commission model used elsewhere for such reviews. Mr. MacKay must bow to the compelling argument for such a body. Mr. Swan must insist Manitoba cases are reviewed by outside, independent counsel. Anything less compounds the perception of injustice, potentially derailing the pursuit of truth.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 23, 2014 A8

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Cheapskate: School supply shopping

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A pelican comes in for a landing Wednesday afternoon on the Red River at Lockport, Manitoba - Standup photo- June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • May 22, 2012 - 120522  - Westminster United Church photographed Tuesday May 22, 2012 .  John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What do you think of the new Blue Bombers uniforms?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google