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Two New Brunswick Men Acquitted of a Murder They Were Wrongly Convicted of 40 Years Ago

This afternoon Robert (Bobby) Mailman and Walter (Wally) Gillespie were acquitted by Chief Justice Tracey DeWare of the King’s Bench Court in Saint John, New Brunswick, 40 years after they were wrongly convicted in the murder of George Leeman.

On November 30, 1983, Mr. Leeman’s body was found by a jogger in a wooded area in Rockwood Park, Saint John. Mr. Leeman was the victim of a significant beating, and his body was partially burned. Mr. Leeman was living in Saint John in a rooming house when he was murdered.

Between January 19 and 21, 1984, the Saint John Police Service charged Wally Gillespie and Bobby Mailman with the murder.

Mr. Gillespie and Mr. Mailman both had strong alibis with multiple witnesses placing them kilometers from the crime scene on the day of the murder. Nevertheless, they were convicted of the murder on May 11, 1984. Both were sentenced to life imprisonment without parole eligibility for at least 18 years. They have never wavered in insisting on their innocence.

Mr. Mailman who served 18 years in prison, sadly, is terminally ill. He is 76 years of age. He also lives in Saint John. Mr. Gillespie served 21 years of his life sentence in prison and is presently living in a halfway house in Saint John. He is now 80 years of age.

Today the two men appeared before the Chief Justice accompanied by Innocence Canada lawyers Jerome Kennedy, James Lockyer, and Pamela Zbarsky. They heard the Crown, Karen Lee, advise the Chief Justice that they had no evidence to present to the Court and invited the Court to acquit them both. The Chief Justice acquitted them and expressed her regret that it had taken 40 years for this to happen. She also promised that she would deliver a more substantial judgment tomorrow afternoon which would address the experiences endured by Mr. Mailman and Mr. Gillespie as a result of their 40 years of imprisonment and parole.

After the acquittals, Mr. Kennedy said:

For 40 years, these men have maintained their innocence. It’s a big day for both men. I have been working on their case for six years and they have never faltered in their determination to have their wrongful convictions quashed. At last, they have been vindicated.

Co-Counsel Mr. Lockyer said:

The New Brunswick justice system failed these men. There needs to be an accounting when such an injustice occurs. This was a case where the Saint John Police and Prosecution failed to give information that was known to them to the two men which had it been known could have stopped the prosecution in its tracks. We look forward to what the Chief Justice will say tomorrow.

For further information, contact:

Jerome Kennedy at 709-725-2966 or
James Lockyer at 416-518-7983 or
Ron Dalton at 709-327-6864 or

Indigenous Man Returns to the Court in Winnipeg where He was Convicted 50 Years Ago

More than 49 years ago on March 5, 1974, Clarence Woodhouse, a young Indigenous man, and a member of the Pinaymootang First Nation on the Fairford Indian Reserve in Manitoba, was convicted of the murder of Mr. Ting Fong Chan in Winnipeg, a crime he did not commit.

On July 18 of this year, two of Mr. Woodhouse’s former co-accused were vindicated in the King’s Bench Court by Chief Justice Joyal in Winnipeg. A fourth accused, Clarence’s brother Russell Woodhouse, sadly died in 2011 before he could be vindicated.

On September 13, 2023, Innocence Canada filed an application with Federal Justice Minister Arif Virani for a ministerial review of Clarence Woodhouse’s conviction pursuant to the provisions of the Criminal Code. We also filed a posthumous application on Russell Woodhouse’s behalf with the support of his surviving sister, Linda Anderson.

Clarence Woodhouse, now in his early 70s, has always proclaimed his innocence but no one listened to him. The prosecution’s case at his trial in 1974 depended on a “confession” that he was supposed to have made in fluent English despite Saulteaux being the language he spoke. Mr Woodhouse testified that he was assaulted by members of the Winnipeg Police into signing a false confession, but the trial judge and the jury disbelieved him. Innocence Canada has now adopted his case and brought it before the Justice Minister urging him to quash his conviction.

Monday, October 23, 2023, will be the next step on Clarence Woodhouse’s road to vindication. He will appear at 2:00 p.m. before the King’s Bench Court at 408 York Avenue, Winnipeg asking that he be released on bail pending the Minister’s decision.

Jerome Kennedy, a Director of Innocence Canada, who has led the case for Mr. Woodhouse’s vindication, said today:

“49 years has been an interminable wait for Clarence Woodhouse, but he never gave up. Tomorrow will be an extraordinary day for him, to be back in the very same court where he was wrongly convicted.”

James Lockyer, also a Director of Innocence Canada, who is assisting Mr. Kennedy with the case, said today:

“Innocence Canada is privileged to be able to help Mr. Woodhouse and we will be there for him at his release hearing.”

For further information, contact:

Jerome Kennedy at 709-725-2966 or
James Lockyer at 416-518-7983 or

Farewell Glenn Eugene Assoun

It is with heavy hearts and profound sadness that we announce the passing of Glen Assoun. Glen passed away on June 14th, leaving behind cherished memories, a legacy of love and music, and an enduring fight for truth and justice.

Born on Nov 3rd 1955, Glen displayed an unwavering passion for music from an early age. The gentle strumming of a guitar became the soundtrack of his life, echoing his joys, sorrows, and the profound emotions he poured into his music.

Sadly, Glen’s life took an unexpected turn when he found himself wrongfully accused and convicted of a crime he did not commit. Despite maintaining his innocence with conviction, the system failed him, robbing him of his freedom for years and his family precious time. Throughout his unjust incarceration, his guitar became an emblem of resilience, a beacon of hope that carried him through dark and desolate times.

Glen faced the adversity with unimaginable strength and unwavering belief in his innocence. In the darkest of moments, he held fast to the hope that the “truth would set him free”.

Throughout the long years of wrongful imprisonment, Glen became a symbol of resilience and grace. He inspired countless individuals who championed his cause and rallied against the injustice he faced. His relentless pursuit of truth attracted the attention of renowned legal advocates and activists, who worked tirelessly to expose the miscarriage of justice.

Finally, after years of tireless efforts, the truth emerged, and Glen was exonerated of all charges. The world watched in awe as the wrongful shackles were lifted from his weary shoulders. And after all of those years, Glen was finally learning how to live once again. Spending time with his family and friends; including his four legged best friend, Sawyer. Also, as a car enthusiast, Glen enjoyed his drives on the open road.

Glen’s memory will be remembered and kept alive by his former spouse Margaret Assoun and their children James Brown, Glen Assoun (Lois Cross), Tanya Assoun and Amanda Assoun (Shannon Huckle). Grandchildren Alisha Cross, Patrick Cross, Jacob Cross, Jesse Brown, Lisa Brown, Presley Assoun, and Grayson Huckle. Brothers Kevin Assoun (Brenda), Kenneth Assoun and Sister Kim Ivany (Edward). And his dearest friend Rev. David Watt.

Glen is Predeceased by his Mother Helen O’Dea Assoun, Father Reginald Assoun, Stepfather Myles Furlong and his brothers
David, Ron, John, Louis and Jim.

Glen leaves behind a void that can never be filled. However, his legacy of love, perseverance, and the relentless pursuit of justice will forever guide them. As they mourn his loss, may they find solace in knowing that his spirit will forever watch over them, offering them strength and guidance.

May Glen’s soul rest in eternal peace. He will be deeply missed and forever remembered. Let us sing Glen back home.

You can sign the e-Guest Book via this link

Bernard Doyle Exonerated After 27 Years

On Monday, June 12th, 27 years after his wrongful conviction on manslaughter, Bernard Doyle finally heard the news that he had been praying and hoping from when the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned his conviction and ordered an acquittal. It is a true exoneration for him.

On August 16, 1996, Tyler Cunningham, his girlfriend’s 17-month-old son, died in Kitchener, Ontario as a result of a tragic accident. Mr. Doyle, then 22 years old, was dancing with Tyler in his arms when he tripped over his roofing tools and fell forwards onto the floor. The back of Tyler’s head struck the hard edges of the tools, and he was fatally wounded. Sadly, Tyler died the following day.

Two pathologists, one of whom was the now discredited Dr. Charles Smith, testified that Tyler could not have died in the manner Mr. Doyle described Instead, he opined, Mr. Doyle must have shaken Tyler violently and, at the same time, struck him several times on the head. On the basis of this evidence, Mr. Doyle was convicted by a jury in Kitchener of manslaughter and sentenced to 4 years in the penitentiary. He served his full sentence.

Innocence Canada became involved in Mr. Doyle’s case in 2013. We obtained expert reports from a forensic pathologist, a forensic neuropathologist and a forensic biomechanical engineer who all certified that Mr. Doyle’s original account fully explained all of Tyler’s injuries. The Crown retained its own pathologist, Dr. Michael Pollanen, the Chief Pathologist for the Province of Ontario, who agreed with Innocence Canada’s experts.

On June 12th, the Court of Appeal heard the new expert evidence, agreed it was decisive of Mr. Doyle’s innocence and entered an acquittal.

For the first time in almost three decades, Mr. Doyle a proud Newfoundlander can hold his head high. Mr. Doyle said after his acquittal, “I am very relieved and grateful for what happened today. The justice system has worked for me at last. But I will never forget Tyler. He was a wonderful boy who had lots of promise. I couldn’t help thinking that he was there with me today.”

Miscarriage of Justice Likely: Wade Skiffington



This morning, the Minister of Justice, the Honourable Justice Lametti, announced that he has concluded that a miscarriage of justice likely occurred in Mr. Skiffington’s second degree murder conviction in 2001 for the murder of Wanda Martin in 1994. This announcement is the culmination of a four-year investigation by his Ministry. Innocence Canada adopted Mr. Skiffington’s case in 2017 and presented his case to the Minister through its counsel. The Minister has today referred his conviction to the British Columbia Court of Appeal for a new appeal.

This is welcome news for Mr. Skiffington who for two decades has maintained that he is innocent of Wanda’s murder and was wrongly convicted. He was in prison for more than 17 years before being released on bail in January 2019 by the Honourable Mr. Justice Tammen of the British Columbia Supreme Court. He ruled that Mr. Skiffington should be allowed to live with his family in Newfoundland and Labrador while the Minister’s investigation into the integrity of his conviction was underway.

When Wanda Martin was murdered in a friend’s apartment building in Richmond, B.C. on September 6, 1994, police investigators rushed to the judgment that her fiancé Wade Skiffington was responsible. However, there was never any forensic evidence tying him to the offence, even though there should have been if he was the perpetrator. Witnesses who did not know Mr. Skiffington established that he had a credible alibi and no opportunity to commit the offence. Mr. Skiffington was co-operative with police in the aftermath of Wanda’s homicide. He provided them with multiple statements and allowed them to search his residence. Despite reports of a break and enter, and a suspicious man hiding in bushes, in the immediate vicinity of the crime scene in the afternoon Wanda was killed, police remained focused on Mr. Skiffington. Mr. Skiffington was convicted solely on the basis of a dubious “Mr. Big” confession. More than 5 years after Wanda’s murder, RCMP officers masquerading as gangsters lured him into a fake underworld and persisted in their efforts even after he tried to disassociate himself from them. He was given lavish financial incentives and he was subjected to episodes of simulated violence. Not surprisingly, he succumbed to their demands that he admit, falsely, that he killed Wanda. Before and since his highly dubious “Mr. Big” confession, Mr. Skiffington has proclaimed his innocence. His family and friends have never wavered in their support for him. While serving his prison sentence, Mr. Skiffington was a model prisoner, and by the time he was released on bail in 2019, he had been eligible for full parole for four years. He was denied parole because he would not participate in correctional programming that required him to admit guilt for a crime he did not commit.

Innocence Canada believes that the police investigation into Wanda Martin’s murder was a classic case of tunnel vision, a well-known cause of wrongful convictions. All too often, a rush to judgment results in law enforcement neglecting to investigate other viable leads. In 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Hart recognized that if the Mr. Big technique becomes abusive, it will produce unreliable confessions, in itself a further known cause of wrongful convictions. Innocence Canada believes that police tunnel vision led to Mr. Skiffington’s false confession and his wrongful conviction.

Mr. Skiffington will not talk about his case now it is back before the Court of Appeal. He is represented at his appeal by Tamara Duncan and James Lockyer, both Directors of Innocence Canada.

Previous Innocence Canada exonerees who went through the lengthy s.696.1 process include Steven Truscott, Romeo Phillion and Bill Mullins-Johnson. To date, Innocence Canada (formerly known as AIDWYC – the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted) has been involved in 24 cases of wrongful conviction.

Media Inquiries:

For further information please contact James Lockyer at: 416-613-0416 or

Innocence Canada Mourns the Loss of David Milgaard

For immediate release

May 16, 2022 – 3:00PM

TORONTO: With profound sadness, Innocence Canada shares the news of David Milgaard’s untimely death. David died yesterday, May 15th, 2022. He was 69 years old.

Innocence Canada and Innocence movement advocates are stunned and heart-broken by David’s death. He was a part of the Innocence Canada family and more, an honoured and respected leader in the Innocence movement.  Ron Dalton, Innocence Canada Co-President and exoneree expresses, “his death is a tragic loss to the Canadian Innocence movement and a personal blow to many of us at Innocence Canada.”

David contributed decades of time and energy advocating and lobbying for a Canadian post-conviction review commission.  David was instrumental in the recent consultation process for the development of a Miscarriages of Justice Commission in Canada.

David was an incredibly generous and sweet man who is remembered for turning his suffering into a lifetime of helping others.  Those of us who knew and loved him best are struggling with the profound loss we feel.  We will do our best to continue the work David and his mother began.

Innocence Canada extends our deepest and heartfelt condolences to David’s family, friends and legions of supporters across Canada and the world.

Jacques Delisle Receives Stay of Proceedings – Prosecution Appeals Decision

Jacques Delisle Receives a Stay of Proceedings – Quebec Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions Appeals the Decision

On April 8th, 2022, the Quebec Superior Court entered a stay of proceedings on Mr. Jacques Delisle’s first degree murder charge.  Unfortunately, on April 28th, 2022, the Quebec Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions filed notice that they will appeal the decision

Mr. Delisle, a retired Justice of the Quebec Court of Appeal, was convicted of first-degree murder in 2012 in the death of his wife, Nicole Rainville.  Ms. Rainville took her own life on November 12, 2009.

On April 7, 2021, Federal Justice Minister David Lametti ordered a new trial for Mr. Delisle after concluding that a miscarriage of justice likely occurred in his trial. The Minister came to this decision after considering a s.696.1 application that was submitted by James Lockyer on Mr. Delisle’s behalf in 2015.  The application was supported by new expert evidence that was not before the courts at Mr. Delisle’s trial or at his appeal.

On April 9, 2021, the day after the Minister’s decision, Innocence Canada counsel James Lockyer and Quebec counsel Jacques Larochelle secured Mr. Delisle’s release pending the new trial ordered by Minister Lametti.  

On April 8, 2022, Justice Émond, writing in the Superior Court’s 99-page ruling, found that “society has no interest in a trial that will inexorably prove to be unfair. The social interest of a final judgment ruling on the merits and the process of finding the truth cannot prevail if the fairness of the trial is irreparably compromised by the fault of the state.”  

After the stay was granted, Lockyer reflects: “It has been a long ordeal for Mr. Delisle and his family.  Fortunately, they have had the strength to endure it and I wish them all the best in the future.  Mr. Delisle is the victim of a wrongful conviction, and his case reminds us how our criminal justice system is human and therefore fallible.” 

Innocence Canada will be watching the next steps in Mr. Delisle’s proceedings with interest and concern.

Minister’s decision rendered on Jacques Delisle case

On April 7, 2021, Federal Minister of Justice David Lametti, announced his decision to order a retrial in the case of Jacques Delisle.

Read Innocence Canada’s response to this news here, in English or French.

Innocence Canada Endorses Leadership Choice

Read Innocence Canada’s press release following Federal Minister of Justice David Lametti’s announcement on March 31, 2021, on the appointment of Justice Harry LaForme and Justice Westmoreland-Traoré to lead consultations on the structure of Canada’s wrongful convictions review body.

Innocence Canada Welcomes Federal Promise of Independent Commission

A federal plan to create an independent body to seek out and correct possible wrongful convictions represents the realization of a 25 year-dream for the innocence movement.

On December 13, 2019, the Federal Department of Justice received a mandate to create an independent review commission.

Read the mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Justice Minister David Lametti. 

Read our press release to learn more.