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Evidence erased by police would have freed wrongfully convicted man: defence lawyer

Glen Assoun, the Nova Scotia man who spent almost 17 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, stands outside Supreme Court in Halifax on Friday, July 12, 2019. A judge had ordered the full release of a federal Justice Department report that led to the exoneration of Assoun, wrongfully convicted of murder. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan.
Glen Assoun, the Nova Scotia man who spent almost 17 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, stands outside Supreme Court in Halifax on Friday, July 12, 2019. A judge had ordered the full release of a federal Justice Department report that led to the exoneration of Assoun, wrongfully convicted of murder. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan.

A defence lawyer who fought to free Glen Assoun from a wrongful murder conviction says evidence erased by the Mounties would have helped him win his appeal.

A federal report made public Friday revealed that the RCMP chose not to disclose an investigator’s theories of other suspects in the 1995 murder of Brenda Way and had erased or thrown away files.

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READ MORE: Evidence of possible serial killer in Halifax wrongful conviction case was destroyed: report

This occurred before Assoun’s unsuccessful appeal in 2006, and the Halifax man remained in prison for eight more years. The 63-year-old was declared innocent of second-degree murder on

March 1 after serving almost 17 years in federal penitentiaries. Lawyer Jerome Kennedy says if he’d known serial killer Michael McGray was considered a suspect by an RCMP investigator, it would have backed a theory he was advancing before the Court of Appeal of alternative suspects.

READ MORE: Judge calls for release of evidence in wrongful murder conviction of N.S. man

Kennedy, a former attorney general of Newfoundland and Labrador, says he feels “a sense of sadness” his client went on to serve time for a murder he didn’t commit, due to a justice system that “failed him so miserably.”