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Sebastian Burns and Atif Rafay: The heartbreaking story of two bright Canadians who were traded to the U.S. by malicious cops to advance their careers. This "Mr. Big" undercover operation is a disgrace to the democratic world. RCMP undercover operators Haslett and Shinkaruk have boasted that using the Mr. Big or some other scenario, the cops can get anyone to "confess". Posing as thugs, the two lured Burns into a phony criminal enterprise. Eventually, they extracted a pair of halting, reluctant confessions.
Linda Fairstein: Central Park 5 D.A. may have tried too hard. Zealot. Crusader. Probably not labels former chief of the Manhattan DA's Sex Crimes Unit would use to describe herself. Her preferred image is the jacket-copy version of her career used to tout her bestselling mystery books (usually accompanied by an ultra-blond, airbrushed photo). After a confession to the Central Park attack by an imprisoned serial rapist, whose DNA linked him to the crime, the jogger case cracked open to reveal prosecutorial failures. This appears to be the third flub of a major case from her glory days.
Central Park Five: The highly publicized case about the rape of a white female jogger, who was found unconscious and beaten in Central Park. The Central Park 5 were convicted of rape, assault, robbery and riot for attacking the jogger as well as a couple on a tandem bicycle, two male joggers and a homeless man. It is not clear why this 1989 murder made this most read list. Was it because Donald Trump wanted them executed or because there is a mini-series being prepared?
Theresa Olson: public defender for Sebastian Burns was suspended for two years after a jail-sex romp. Two justices dissented, arguing that the suspension was too harsh in part because there was "no evidence" sexual relations had occurred - citing a dictionary definition of "coitus" which refers only to male-female vaginal intercourse - even though guards outside a jail conference room claimed, under oath, they had seen her having sex with her client. In 2003, the Supreme Court rejected the bar's recommendation for a one-year suspension. In addition, Olson must undergo a psychological evaluation before she can be reinstated.
Clayton Johnson: Janice Johnson, 36, is found with fatal head injuries at the bottom of the basement stairs in her Shelburne, N.S. home. 1993-2001: Clayton Johnson, her husband, is convicted of bludgeoning her to death. A Texas pathologist who reviewed the original findings determined the woman died accidentally when she fell down the stairs backwards and struck her head. The federal justice minister refered this case to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal which ordered a new murder trial for Clayton Johnson. Gets $2.5M
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David Milgaard: The partly clad body of nursing aide Gail Miller, 20, is found in a Saskatoon snowbank. 1970: Milgaard is sentenced to life in prison for murder. 1992: The Supreme Court of Canada recommends a new trial after hearing evidence of a series of rapes committed in Saskatoon by RCMP snitch Larry Fisher who had already been convicted of four rapes and one attempted rape. Fisher was convicted in 1999 and sentenced to life in prison. David Milgaard was set free in 1992 and exonerated in 1997 following DNA tests. Gets $10M
Just before Christmas, 2001, when no one was paying attention, the infamous videotapes depicting sex killer Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka's vicious rape and torture of schoolgirls Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy were incinerated by court order. Future historians will have to speculate about just how demented Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka really were. An exercise kind of like speculating on how awful Auschwitz was. Except to holocaust deniers like Ernst Zundel, we can point to the evidence.
In 1973, Peter Reilly found his mother's severely battered body on the floor of their cottage. Police immediately found his demeanor odd and whisked him away. A failed polygraph examination solidified investigators' belief that he attacked his mother, and used the findings as a hammer during an 8-hour interrogation. A jury convicted him of first-degree manslaughter in 1974. He was exonerated after it was disclosed prosecutors improperly withheld an auxiliary trooper's statement which placed him far from the crime scene at about the time of the murder. A judge concluded "a grave injustice" had been committed and vacated the conviction with prejudice, meaning Reilly could never be retried for the still unsolved crime.
Shannon Murrin: Mindy Tran disappeared on August 17, 1994. A lead RCMP investigator had Shannon Murrin brutally beaten up by thugs in 1995. He was charged with her rape and murder in January 1997 and acquitted by a jury in January 2000. A juror, later Murrin's girlfriend, wrote a story of what "really happened" and accused the media and RCMP of having him convicted before the trial began. The Mindy Tran website writes: "Her's is a well crafted tale transforming Murrin from a monstrous child killer into the lovable falsely accused rogue".
Guy-Paul Morin: The body of Christine Jessop, 9, is found in a farmer's field. 1985-92: Morin is arrested, tried, acquitted, tried again and convicted of murder by a prosecutor now a judge. 1995: He is cleared and offered $1.25M compensation after DNA testing excludes him as the source of semen found on the child's underwear. An inquiry slams the investigation. The final report says mistakes by forensic scientists, police, and prosecutors all combined to send an innocent man to jail. He is the best known wrongly convicted exonerated person in Canada.
Jaime Wheeler, 20, was murdered in her basement suite on March 12, 2000, stabbed and slashed 56 times. Dominic McCullock, 23, was convicted in 2004 of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 15 years. He has maintained his innocence and is appealing his conviction. The trial heard that DNA found in blood on Wheeler's jacket and apartment door handles matched McCullock's, and a pubic hair stuck in dried blood on Wheeler's arm matched his.
Brenton Butler: "Murder on a Sunday Morning", the winner for Best Documentary at the 2002 Academy Award ceremony, premiered on HBO. It recounts the trial of Brenton Butler, a 15-year-old Jacksonville resident who had been falsely accused of murdering a white tourist during a robbery. He had no gunshot residue on his hands. His fingerprints were not on the woman's purse which was stolen during the shooting. The $91 he had on him was from honest work at Burger King. Butler testified that police detectives beat a confession out of him. Settles for $775K.
Robert Mailman and Walter Gillespie were sentenced to life largely on testimony of a 16-year old who now admits he lied, claiming pressure by police and was paid "living allowance" in the weeks leading to the trial. A second witness agreed to testify against them after the murder charge against her was dropped on the eve of trial. The first trial ended in a hung jury. Both had an alibi putting them elsewhere around the time the victim was killed. Information favourable to the accused was not disclosed. Detectives admit acting only on "suspicion" and had no "concrete" evidence. A senior detective who worked closely on the case says other detectives were "a little bit overzealous".
Ron and Linda Sterling were the key figures in the Martensville case, the most infamous sexual abuse trial ever held in Saskatchewan. They were found not guilty of 32 crimes against children. "We're going to be tainted as the most vile child molesters for the rest of our lives" says Ron. "No matter that I've been found not guilty. Our life can never be normal. We've lost two years of our lives. I used to have great faith in the justice system."
John Schneeberger has lost his Canadian citizenship. He is on parole after being convicted for drugging and sexually-assaulting two female patients in 1999. In 2003 a movie was made, "I Accuse", based on the crimes of Dr. John Schneeberger. He was deported to his South African homeland where he applied to the Health Professions Council.
Michael Cardamone: is charged in 2002 with molesting young girls at his family's gym. At pretrial, a psychologist testifies his case is an example of children developing false memories through "suggestive" interviews but the testimony is not admitted at trial. Judge says he is "a systematic and serial child molester". Gets 20 years. In 2008 a Court overturns the conviction and orders a new trial. He gets a $55K bail. In 2012, in a case started for sexual abuse, both sides agree to "inappropriately touching, not sexually motivated". He takes a plea and gets time served.
Robert Baltovich: pays for Paul Bernardo crime. Fresh evidence before the appeal court but not considered by the judges shows Bernardo was acquainted with victim Elizabeth Bain and was seen at her university campus the day she disappeared. Apart from the fact the original conviction was secured without a scintilla of physical evidence pointing to Baltovich's guilt, there is strong evidence police actively suppressed evidence which points to his innocence, including one witness's observation of Bain being a terrified passenger in her own car as it was driven on Highway 401 at a time when Baltovich was working out in a gym and the Crown theory had her already dead. The successful prosecutor is now a judge.
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