Judge releases evidence in Halifax man's 1999 wrongful murder conviction

HALIFAX — A judge had ordered the full release of a federal Justice Department report that led to the exoneration of a Halifax man wrongfully convicted of murder.

Justice James Chipman of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court said in his written decision that it is "in the interest of the general public" to know why Glen Assoun spent almost 17 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

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Lawyers for 63-year-old Glen Assoun say the release of hundreds of pages of documents means the public is going to learn information never put before juries and judges.

Chipman had already said on July 2 he intended to release the report in response to a case launched by The Canadian Press, CBC and the Halifax Examiner.

Assoun was wrongfully convicted of slitting Brenda Way's throat on Nov. 12, 1995 — sending to him to a federal prison where he'd suffer beatings, heart attacks and depression.

The federal assessment of the case, prepared by the criminal conviction review group, became the basis for Justice Minister David Lametti declaring a miscarriage of justice had occurred in the 1999 jury trial.

Lametti took the unusual step of noting that "reliable and relevant evidence" was never disclosed in Assoun's criminal proceedings.

Chipman declared Assoun innocent on March 1 after the Nova Scotia Crown dropped its case.

Assoun's lawyers, Phil Campbell and Sean MacDonald, had requested that Chipman black out the names of three informants who provided evidence to Innocence Canada, on the basis that their safety might be at risk.

Chipman said there wasn't sufficient evidence provided to justify the editing out of these names.

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