CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

CrimProf Alan N.Young Discusses The Ongoing Drama in Canada's Longest Murder Case

AlanFrom Osgoode Hall CrimProf Alan N. Young recently discussed the the attorney general’s decision to refuse to re-screen the central witness in Canada’s longest running and most expensive murder trial even though he committed perjury, concocted evidence, and hinted that his ability to recall information in a looming retrial would hinge on how much he got paid for it.

This isn’t the first murder case that has dragged on for years before someone eventually puts it out of its misery, says CrimProf Alan N. Young.

Part of the problem is that prosecutors and police develop fixed, subjective opinions about a suspect’s guilt and then scrape the bottom of the barrel to find evidence even when they can’t objectively succeed because they believe the suspect is guilty.

Then when the court of appeal quashes the conviction and sends it back for a new trial, they don’t decide that they might not have proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but simply try harder.

“There’s a very distinct standard of proof in criminal law,” says Young. “If the police and prosecutors don’t believe they meet that standard, even if they believe the person is guilty, the only solution is to walk away. You can’t have perfect justice. This is not the heavens. It’s the criminal courts.” Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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