Toronto, Ontario: On October 3, 2018, Innocence Canada and the Law Society of Ontario will host a reception in recognition of its 25th Anniversary and the 5th Anniversary of Wrongful Conviction Day.
Family members of Donald Marshall Junior, Canada’s first recognized exoneree, will attend, as well as Jim McCloskey, founder of Centurion Ministries and a long-time stalwart and pioneer of the innocence movement.
Other special guests include John Artis, wrongly convicted of a triple murder in New Jersey along with his co-accused the late world championship boxer Rubin Hurricane Carter; Mike and Jennifer Kalaugher innocence activists in New Zealand; Jim Coffin, whose father Wilbert Coffin was hanged in Quebec in 1959; and Ron Moffatt, who was wrongly convicted in Toronto in 1956 at the age of 14.
MPP Rick Nicholl, MPP Jessica Bell and Chief Justice of Ontario George Strathy will attend amongst other members of the judiciary, lawyers, and past and present members of Innocence Canada.
In conjunction with the various events hosted by organizations around the world, 20 confirmed landmarks to date will be illuminated in recognition of Wrongful Conviction Day. Among these will be the CN Tower, Mississauga Absolute Towers, Niagara Falls, BC Place, McMahon Stadium, Baltimore City Hall Dome, Mid-Hudson Bridge and the Peace Bridge.
Many cities across Canada have proclaimed October 2nd, 2018 as Wrongful Conviction Day. At the federal level, MP Ali Ehsassi will be recognizing Wrongful Conviction Day in the House of Commons.
The highlight of the evening’s reception in Toronto will be the introduction of the wrongly convicted. Amongst those attending are William Mullins-Johnson, Rob Baltovich, Tammy Marquardt, James Driskell, Thomas Sophonow, Leighton Hay, Ron Dalton, Réjean Hinse, Maria Shepherd and Dinesh Kumar.
The evening will also include the presentation of:
The Rubin Hurricane Carter Champion of Justice Award: to highly-respected lawyer and human rights advocate Marlys Edwardh and a former Board member of Innocence Canada.
The Tracey Tyler Award: will be presented to Halifax Examiner reporter Tim Bousquet.
The Donald Marshall Junior Award: the first recipient will be Donald Marshall Junior. Marlys Edwardh who was a leader of his legal team will be presenting the award to him posthumously. Accepting the award will be Terry Marshall, Donald's brother, and Donald's former partner and life-long friend, Jane McMillan. The Donald Marshall Junior Award will be presented annually to an exoneree who has shown great courage, determination, tenacity and endurance in staying the course to prove their innocence.
The evening will also feature reflections on the innocence movement by Jim McCloskey; founder of Centurion Ministries; and James Lockyer; co-founding member of Innocence Canada.
Since its inception in 1993, Innocence Canada has helped in the exonerations of 22 Canadians. These innocent individuals combined spent more than 210 years in prison.
Exoneree and Innocence Canada Co-President Ron Dalton had this to say about Innocence Canada:
"Twenty-five years ago, when Innocence Canada was being formed I was sitting in a maximum-security prison for a crime I did not commit, as were many others who have since been proven innocent and released through the efforts of this fine organization. I invite all Canadians to take a moment to celebrate the remarkable achievements Innocence Canada has contributed to our nation during the past twenty-five years. The only objective of the organization has been to correct grave miscarriages of justice and to restore freedom to the victims of those terrible mistakes. The past quarter century has demonstrated the fallibility of our justice system and the continued need for an organization dedicated to correcting the worst mistakes. As a nation we should be proud of the work done to date and appreciative of the continuing efforts to catch, correct, and contain the mistakes inherent in our justice system."
Kirk Makin, Innocence Canada’s other Co-President had this to add:
"It takes many years and a tremendous amount of effort to overturn one wrongful conviction. Time and again, this organization has pulled together to make it happen. As long as the justice system remains short of perfection - and it always will - Innocence Canada will be here to help those in need."
For more information and interview requests for exonerees and Innocence Canada representatives please contact:
- 1-800-249-1329 x227
- 416-504-7500 x 227
- Cell: 416-459-2065