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Ivan Henry has right to sue for wrongful conviction, Supreme Court rules

05/01/2015 11:13 EDT | Updated 05/01/2016 05:12 EDT
A man who spent 27 years in prison after he was wrongfully convicted for a series of sexual assaults will now be able to sue police and federal, provincial and municipal authorities for damages, the Supreme Court of Canada says.

Canada's highest court ruled Friday that Ivan Henry, 67, can move forward with lawsuits against authorities that include the City of Vancouver and members of the Vancouver Police Department.

In 1983, Ivan Henry was convicted of 10 sexual offences in Vancouver and sentenced to jail.

Henry always maintained his innocence. In 2010, the B.C. Court of Appeal found serious errors in the conduct of the trial and quashed all of those convictions, effectively acquitting him of the crimes.

Henry then launched a lawsuit for the wrongful convictions, claiming his Charter rights were violated when the Crown failed to disclose key information about his case, including conflicting statements from witnesses, that there was another suspect, and that similar assaults occurred after his arrest.

On Friday, the Supreme Court of Canada agreed, and ruled Henry can sue provincial and federal authorities as well as Vancouver police officers involved in his case.

The Crown had argued at the hearings that the prosecutors didn't act maliciously and that Henry would have to prove they did.

But the Supreme Court ruled Henry would not need to prove malice for damages to be awarded, just that the Crown's withholding of evidence impinged on his ability to make a full defence.

The court ruled if Henry's claims are true, there's no doubt that damages would be "appropriate and just"

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