WATCH (above): Ivan Henry was locked up for 27 years for crimes he did not commit. Today, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled he has the right to argue for compensation. Rumina Daya reports.
The Supreme Court has ruled a man who spent 27 years in prison for crimes he did not commit has the right to sue for compensation because his rights were violated by prosecutors.
Ivan Henry, now 67, was convicted in 1983 of three counts of rape, two counts of attempted rape and five counts of indecent assault on eight Vancouver women. Five years ago Henry was released on bail and acquitted in 2010 after the Court of Appeal heard his original trial was riddled with mistakes.
“It’s a victory in a sense because it’s all Canadians, not just Ivan, it’s everybody,” Henry told Global News.
Over the years the government has paid out millions of dollars to people who have been wrongfully convicted across Canada. And yet with the exception of one case, no one has had to go to trial to get compensation.
Henry filed civil lawsuits in 2011 against the City of Vancouver, members of the police department as well as the provincial and federal attorneys general.
According to Henry’s lawyer, Cameron Ward, no one has given him any financial support to help him adjust back into society after being locked away for 27 years.
“No government has paid him a nickel… to help him with the counseling services he’s needed or to give him some kind of stipend to which to live on his own,” Ward said.
“And it’s not only that they’re not making it easy for him, they’re actually digging in their heels and fighting us on legal arguments, like the one that was decided today and dealt with today in the Supreme Court of Canada.”
B.C.’s Attorney General is not commenting on the lawsuit because the case is before the Supreme Court.
It is expected Henry’s case could proceed in November.
~ with files from Rumina Daya