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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.
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.
Greg Parsons: His mother Catherine Carroll is killed in her St. John's Newfoundland home in 1991. Her son, Greg Parsons, is convicted of her murder in 1994. He was exonerated by DNA evidence and formally acquitted in 1998. A childhood friend of Parsons, Brian Doyle, was later charged with murder. Doyle was sentenced to life in prison. Gregory Parsons gets a compensation of $1.3M
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."
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
Rocco Galati: Immigration lawyer quits cases over death threats. "I'm not on the verge of tears for my safety" says Galati. "....because it means we now live in Colombia, because the rule of law is meaningless. It means that lawyers cannot represent anyone even in what you profess to be a democracy here in Canada."
Dudley George: an unarmed native protester was killed, in September 1995, by an Ontario Provincial Police officer carrying a high-powered automatic rifle during the late-night assault in Ipperwash Provincial Park which was being claimed as a burial ground. An inquiry was called. Lawyers evaluated more than 200,000 documents relating to the killing including trial transcripts and government documents. Then premier Mike Harris had told a meeting: "Get those fucking Indians out of the park even if you have to draw guns to do it." George lay dying late at night in a car with a flat tire outside a farmhouse, as desperate relatives waited for an ambulance which never arrived.
Fallon Aubee né Jean Paul made Canadian history by being the first male inmate to be transfered to a women's prison after being declared a transgender. Aubee, of Maple Ridge, was charged with killing 19-years-old witness Gordon Spears gangland style in 1992. Spears was scheduled to testify at a murder trial in relation to the 1990 killing of 20-year-old Kin Wai Lee, member of the Lotus Gang. Aubee is serving a life sentence since 2003.
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
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.
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.
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.
Dr. Joel Yelland: Quack testimony convicts innocents. In 1990, Richard Klassen and 11 other people were charged with dozens of counts of child sexual abuse. According to the statement of claim, Klassen alleges Yelland "deliberately encouraged the children . . . to continue to make up stories of sexual abuse and further that he purposely and negligently supplied the prosecution with corroborated testimony that the defendant knew or should have known to be false." The case went to trial in late 2003 and the judge ruled in their favour. The judge was also critical of Yelland's work, saying he made statements of fact based solely on unsubstantiated allegations of the children rather than on physical examinations. Justice George Baynton said Yelland's judgment was clouded by the large number of abuse cases he'd handled in the past and it "blinded him."
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".
Thomas Sophonow: Waitress Barbara Stoppel, 16, is found strangled in a washroom at a St. Boniface, MB doughnut shop. 1982-85: Thomas Sophonow is arrested, tried three times and convicted twice, by the perjured testimony of a pedophile-turned-snitch, before being freed by the Manitoba Court of Appeal on grounds of legal errors in the third trial. Gets $2.3M settlement.
MORE NATIVE STORIES: This is an aggregate of a theme in the inJusticebusters.org site centred around the injustices towards the indigenous people in North Anerica such as shootings, beatings, killings, rapes, and of course the famous "Midnight Tours". These individual stories rarely make it to the top 20 but as an aggregate theme they rank here.
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".
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.
* some are an aggregate across the site and/or a theme
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