LAO Newsroom



LAO supports Wrongful Conviction Day, Oct. 2

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) joins the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC) and organizations around the world in recognizing the second Wrongful Conviction Day this Friday, Oct. 2.

Wrongful Conviction Day is intended to inspire discussion on positive change in the criminal justice system, in the hope of helping to prevent future wrongful convictions.

“The conviction of innocent people is an international human rights issue,” says exoneree and AIDWYC co-president, Ron Dalton. “Wrongful conviction devastates individuals, families, communities, and societies.”

Dalton points out the cases of David Milgaard and Romeo Phillion, who spent 23 and 31 years respectively in prison, as well-known examples of those who have been wrongfully convicted. While in prison, Milgaard suffered physical abuse, sexual assault, and a near-fatal gunshot wound. And Phillion is the longest-serving Canadian inmate to have a murder conviction overturnedbecause he refused to seek parole and accept responsibility for a crime he did not commit.

Milgaard and Phillion are among 20 innocent individuals whom AIDWYC has helped since its founding in 1993. Together, these innocent people have spent more than 190 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.

“Wrongful convictions damage our faith in our justice system,” says LAO Chair John McCamus. “Wrongful Conviction Day forces us to look closely at what changes are needed to prevent these miscarriages of justice from happening again.”

On Oct. 2, concerned citizens will participate in Wrongful Conviction Day through a variety of events and various means of online participation. For more information, visit the Wrongful Conviction Day site.

Quick facts

  • AIDWYC has exonerated 20 innocent people since the groups 1993 launch.
  • AIDWYCs pro bono legal work is valued at an estimated $3.5 million annually.
  • AIDWYC is the only non-profit organization in Canada investigating innocence cases full time, independent of government or universities.
  • Earlier this year, LAO signed a funding agreement to provide AIDWYC with $100,000 over two years for post-conviction services and education.
  • LAO is an arms-length agency of the Ontario government.
  • LAO provides legal services to low-income Ontarians.

Questions

Genevieve Oger
Senior Communications Media Relations Officer
Tel: (416) 979-2352 ext. 5208
Cell: (416) 768-4461
Email: ogerg@lao.on.ca