A Miscarriages of Justice Commission

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Hon. Harry LaForme and Hon. Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré

A report on the creation of an independent commission to consider wrongful conviction applications from the Hon. Harry LaForme and the Hon. Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré

The report was submitted to the Minister of Justice by the Honourable Harry LaForme and the Honourable Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré in November 2021.

Consultations were held from June to September 2021 with interested stakeholders, as well as representatives of criminal case review commissions abroad. Consultations focused on the creation of an independent commission in Canada to consider miscarriage of justice applications. The report summarizes the input received during the consultations on various reform options and provides recommendations on the path forward.

“Mistakes happen in the criminal justice system and we need to acknowledge and correct them…These cases are a stain on the collective conscience of Canadians.”

Ronald Dalton - Heather MacIvor & Arthur Milnes Canada at 150: Building a Free and Democratic Society (Toronto: LexisNexis, 2017) p. 111

“It takes a lot longer to correct an injustice than to create one.”

Maria Shepherd - Heather MacIvor & Arthur Milnes Canada at 150: Building a Free and Democratic Society (Toronto: LexisNexis, 2017) p. 113

“I recommend that, in the future, there should be a completely independent entity established which can effectively, efficiently and quickly review cases in which wrongful conviction is alleged.”

Justice Peter Cory in Report of the Inquiry Regarding Thomas Sophonow, 2001.

“The answer only rarely lurks in the paperwork. I have always found that whenever you actually meet a prisoner or a witness, or go to the scene of the crime, you discover something new. You are unlikely to get the same result from simply interrogating a database “

David Jessel, former commissioner of the English Criminal Cases Review Commission, as quoted in Carolyn Hoyle and Mai Sato Reason to Doubt: Wrongful Convictions and the Criminal Cases Review Commission (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019). p. 265.

“The creation of an independent review commission will fundamentally change the way wrongful convictions are addressed in Canada. It will remove the ultimate power of decision from the Minister of Justice and transfer it to an independent body that is at arm’s length from the Government and outside of the political sphere.”

The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada - December 16, 2020

“The wrongfully convicted have been failed by the justice system once already. Failing a second time is not negotiable.”

David Milgaard, August 11, 2021 Roundtable