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B.C. man wrongfully imprisoned for 27 years for sex assaults awarded $8M

Ivan Henry in a photo taken in August, 2015.
Ivan Henry in a photo taken in August, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A B.C. man who was wrongfully imprisoned for 27 years has been granted $8 million in compensation in a B.C. Supreme Court ruling.

Ivan Henry, 69, sued the province after he was acquitted in 2010 of 10 sexual-assault convictions. The federal government and the City of Vancouver settled with Henry in 2015 for undisclosed amounts.

Crown lawyer John Hunter said in December, 2015, that Henry sealed his own fate when he represented himself in court in 1982 and awarding him millions for that decision would be sending the wrong message.

Hunter said Henry should bear some responsibility for his conviction after repeatedly refusing legal counsel.

“The message that should go out is that, ‘Yes, we’ll all try to make sure the trial is fair. But you need a lawyer. You need a lawyer if you’re charged with a serious criminal offence,’” said Hunter in December, 2015.

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During his original trial, Henry fired three of his lawyers and refused two more.

Henry’s current lawyer says his client deserved as much as $43 million in compensation.

WATCH: (Aired May 1, 2015) – Ivan Henry spent 27 years in jail for a crime he did not commit – now the Supreme Court of Canada says he can sue for damages. Rumina Daya has the details.

“No amount of money can restore to him the decades he has spent behind bars,” lawyer John Laxton told court last December. “However, a monetary award may offer some compensation of his long period of wrongful imprisonment and the many lost life opportunities it entailed.”

WATCH: (Aired Nov. 16, 2015) – The City of Vancouver has settled a wrongful conviction lawsuit launched by Ivan Henry, who spent decades in prison for crimes he did not commit. But as John Daly reports, Henry’s fight isn’t over yet.

In a statement, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Suzanne Anton, said in the coming weeks, their legal counsel will review the reasons for judgement and provide advice on the next steps.

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“It is important to recognize that Canadian law on disclosure has undergone significant developments since Mr. Henry’s criminal trial in 1982,” said Anton. “The legal obligations for police and prosecutors in making disclosure to the defence are now much more robust and clearly defined.”

“As part of our obligations to the administration of justice, we will continue to remain sharply focused to ensure that our processes, practices and decisions on prosecutions respect the constitutional rights and entitlements of any British Columbian accused of a crime.”

-With files from The Canadian Press

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