NEWS

Wrongfully convicted Romeo Phillion to launch $14M lawsuit

05/03/2012 02:01 EDT | Updated 07/03/2012 05:12 EDT

Romeo Phillion, wrongly convicted in the 1967 killing of an Ottawa firefighter, is launching a $14-million lawsuit against the Ottawa Police Services Board, two police detectives and Ontario's Attorney General.

Phillion, who just turned 73, spent 31 years behind bars for the stabbing death of Leopold Roy.

Phillion confessed to the crime as part of a plea deal with police, but quickly recanted. He was convicted of murder on Nov. 7, 1972.

Phillion was not released on bail until 2003 pending a new trial. Crown prosecutors then dropped all charges in 2009 rather than launching a new trial.

In 2010, the Crown decided there was no longer any reasonable prospect of conviction.

Phillion's lawyers have yet to officially serve the statement of claim, but that is expected in the coming days.

Phillion is accusing investigators and prosecutors of malice. He has named retired detectives John McCombie and Stephen Nadori in his statement of claim, which alleges they suppressed evidence that would have proven Phillion was in Trenton the day of the crime, thus proving his innocence.

Police officer denies wrongdoing

His lawyer David Robins said a police report — never revealed at his trial — confirmed Philion was stuck in his broken truck in Trenton, Ont., some 200 kilometres away at the time of the murder.

Retired Superintendent John McCombie denied any allegation of wrongdoing.

"Everything I did, I did according to the law," McCombie said Thursday, who added he wouldn't comment further other than to say that he was surprised and disappointed when the charges were dropped and a new trial was ordered.

Robins said many of these claims are settled out of court.

The city would not comment on the possibility of an out-of-court settlement.

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