By Donna Laframboise, Toronto Star, 19 August 1994
Ten years ago this October [in 1984], 9-year-old Christine Jessop disappeared from her home in a small community north of Toronto. When her decomposed remains were discovered a few months later, it was clear she had been brutally murdered.
We will probably never know who committed this terrible crime. But one thing is becoming more obvious with each passing year: the evidence used to convict Guy-Paul Morin, now 34, of her murder is appallingly flimsy.
The entire case against Morin is based on two things: circumstantial forensic evidence involving hairs and fibres, and a confession Morin is alleged to have made to Robert Dean May, a man with whom he shared a jail cell after his arrest.
This week it became public knowledge that three people have gone to the police claiming that May admitted to each of them, on separate occasions, that he fabricated his account of Morin's confession - and perjured himself at both of Morin's trials - in exchange for lenient treatment with respect to his own criminal charges.
These people say that since admitting his perjury to them, May has begun making death threats. He currently is in a British Columbia jail after being arrested last Friday armed with a loaded gun and an axe. He had been released from a Winnipeg jail only a few hours earlier.
At the time he became Guy-Paul Morin's cell mate, May already had a criminal record and was facing an assault charge against a jail guard. Desperate to be released, he approached authorities, claiming to have heard Morin confess. He bargained with them fiercely, saying he would help them convict Morin only if he were given a good deal.
At Morin's second trial in 1992 (he was acquitted at his first one in 1986), the crown attorneys attempted to portray May as a reliable, rehabilitated witness - despite psychiatric evidence that he was a pathological liar with no conscience. When jurors later admitted to CBC television's fifth estate that they'd found May's testimony both believable and damning, it became clear the strategy had worked.
This is precisely the sort of evidence which so many police officers and crown attorneys have made so much of for so long. Taken together with the police perjury, planted evidence, erased wiretaps, missing laboratory slides, and a sloppy autopsy, which have all been part of the case against Guy-Paul Morin, it's clear that the questions raised by this business with May are not an aberration, but standard fare in this whole sorry mess.
Crown attorneys deleted information about what time Jessop's mother originally said she'd returned home to discover her daughter missing, before sharing this evidence with the defence. They also failed to tell the court about a test they'd conducted which proved the hairs and fibres which they would spend two trials insisting linked Morin to the murder scene could have been innocently transferred at the laundromat that both the Jessop and Morin families used.
Nevertheless, the ten-year-long prosecution of this young man continues unabated. Even though Morin's lawyers have filed a 1,900 page appeal document outlining what they feel was wrong with Morin's second trial, there's no indication the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General is prepared to back down.
Instead, it appears ready to spend hundreds of thousands more of our tax dollars fighting tooth and nail in the Ontario Court of Appeal this autumn against granting Guy-Paul Morin the right to appeal this highly suspect murder conviction.