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Morin probe fading into oblivion

the guy-paul morin story

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By Donna Laframboise, Toronto Star, 1 April 1996

Donna Laframboise

Seven months ago, when Paul Bernardo was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, both the public and the news media demanded an inquiry into the way the case had been handled.

Shortly thereafter, retired Ontario Court of Appeal judge Patrick Galligan was appointed to look into the plea bargain deal that Karla Homolka struck with crown attorneys, and Mr. Justice Archie Campbell was asked to investigate the conduct of the police. The first of these reports has already been completed, while the second is currently in progress.

Two weeks ago, violence erupted at Queen's Park between striking civil servants and an OPP riot squad, leaving five people injured and tarnishing Ontario's reputation.

Immediately, various individuals began calling for a public inquiry. Within 48 hours, the government had agreed to such a course of action, declaring the potential $2 million price-tag no object. In the words of Deputy Premier Ernie Eves, "We have to prevent this from happening again so we have to get to the bottom of it."

Which is all well and good. It's difficult to argue against a closer examination of either of the above issues. But it has been more than 14 months since Guy-Paul Morin walked out of court a vindicated man. It has been more than 14 months since Ontario's attorney general assured us that a public inquiry into Morin's decade-long ordeal would commence within "30 days." It has been more than 14 months since the matter of financial compensation for Morin and his family was first broached. And so far, there's been no visible progress.

Today, the possibility of a public inquiry into that shameful miscarriage of justice appears to be growing ever more remote. Apparently, the government can only find two judges with the free time to conduct such an investigation and, rather than getting on with it, seems prepared to do nothing if it can't locate the additional judge it considers necessary.

Although negotiations regarding a compensation package have been underway for months, that issue too, has yet to be resolved. In the interim, neither Morin, nor his parents - who exhausted their retirement savings on his defence - are getting any younger.

Perhaps it's because Morin is a quiet, well-adjusted individual not given to embittered outbursts that his story has receded into the background. Perhaps it's because he has survived the loss of 10 of the best years of his life intact, without having succumbed to alcoholism or mental illness, that we've all but forgotten about him.

Outraged citizens aren't circulating petitions demanding that the government "get to the bottom" of his case. Opposition members aren't rising to their feet one after the other in the Legislature to grill the government on its inaction. Nor, it seems to me, is the media doing much to keep the pressure on these days.

It is our responsibility, though, to demand that justice be done - to ensure that insult isn't added to an already grievous injury where Morin is concerned.

The public inquiry into the wrongful conviction of Guy-Paul Morin began September 3, 1996. Injusticebusters' original Morin story contains articles and some exerpts from it. Results on the inquiry are in The Kaufman report on Guy-Paul Morin on a Government of Ontario site.