Canada court rejects new verdict request

Oct. 19, 2007 at 7:37 PM
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TORONTO, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Canada's Ontario Court of Appeal has refused a request to create a new verdict for wrongly-convicted people who are later cleared of the charges.

The court said a "factual innocence" verdict would downgrade the authority of the existing acquittal verdict. The request for the new type of verdict came after William Mullins-Johnson -- who spent 12 years in jail for a homicide that never happened -- was cleared of the charges and released.

"There are not in Canadian law two kinds of acquittals: those based on the Crown having failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt and those where the accused has been shown to be factually innocent,” the court said in response to the request filed by the Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted.

The court earlier ruled that Mullins-Johnson's conviction for the 1993 death of his 4-year-old niece, Valin, was based on a faulty autopsy that indicated the girl had been killed. Subsequent analysis of the body indicated her death was not a homicide.

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