Tuesday, August 28, 2007

48 years, 2 months, 19 days

That's how long it's been since twelve year old Lynne Harper was brutally raped and murdered near an air force base -- since abandoned -- in Clinton, Ontario. Not long after that, her friend, fourteen year old Steven Truscott, was convicted and sentenced to hang. While Truscott's sentenced was commuted and he was later paroled, he has always proclaimed his innocence.

Today, a five judge panel of the Ontario Court of Appeal -- while refusing to say outright that Truscott is innocent -- said that his conviction was a miscarriage of justice, and entered a verdict of not guilty. (Text of the decision is here, background on the case is here.)

Over the ensuing decades, it has emerged that the provincial prosecutors and the Department of National Defence had been colluding in suppressing key evidence that would have raised probable doubt ... not to mention that the autopsy pointing to a time of death was so laughable that CSI Cancun could have done a better job. Evidence points to a sexual predator stalking the area at the time, but he died in the 70s and his body was cremated -- plus the DNA evidence has degraded so much over time that pointing to any killer with certainty is an impossibility.

Should Truscott sue the province and the feds for the hell he's gone through?

Yes. While no amount of money can compensate for pain and suffering, $50 million is not out of the question as a deterrent to cops who'd be tempted to jump to conclusions like what happened five decades ago.

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