Lawyer for exonerated man seeks review of other alleged Bernardo crimes


JUSTICE REPORTER; With a report from Karen Howlett

June 26, 2008

A legal group that engineered the exoneration of Anthony Hanemaayer - an Ontario man convicted of a 1987 sex attack committed by Paul Bernardo - has demanded a police investigation into other crimes that Mr. Bernardo may have perpetrated.

"There needs to be a full investigation of all crimes Paul Bernardo may have committed during his reign of terror in the late 1980s and early 1990s," said James Lockyer, a lawyer for the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted.

"It is surely apparent to the people of Ontario and Canada that the Paul Bernardo story is not over," Mr. Lockyer told a press conference shortly after Mr. Hanemaayer was acquitted of breaking and entering, and assault in the old case. "There may be more Anthony Hanemaayers out there."

Mr. Lockyer said that police have consistently deluded themselves into thinking Mr. Bernardo had a distinct modus operandi in the way he stalked and attacked women.

"The sooner we understand that and conduct a real investigation of his crimes, the sooner we can clear up whether there have been more miscarriages of justice in Ontario," he said.

Earlier yesterday, Ontario Court of Appeal Judge Marc Rosenberg told a packed Toronto courtroom that it was "profoundly regrettable" that Mr. Hanemaayer lost two years of his life due to a malfunctioning justice system.

Judge Rosenberg said that the "lessons to be learned" from the miscarriage of justice in the case are so important that the court intends to produce written reasons at a later date.

"When mistakes such as this are brought to the court's attention, it is imperative ... that we do what we can to correct them," Judge Rosenberg said.

In a submission to the court, Mr. Lockyer urged the judges to use their ruling to illustrate the shortcomings of eyewitness testimony. The Hanemaayer case was a "textbook example" of the problem, he said, since the only evidence was an identification by the victim's mother - who still clings to the belief that she was right.

Mr. Hanemaayer, 40, wiped away tears during the hearing, and later told reporters that without AIDWYC's intervention, "I probably would have gone to my grave with that charge stuck to my record."

Mr. Hanemaayer refused to criticize the victim's mother, offering a public statement to her: "I'm sorry, but it was not me," he said. "There is only one person who did this, and he has confessed to it."

Partway through his trial in 1989, Mr. Hanemaayer pleaded guilty in order to secure a lenient plea bargain. Upon completing his prison sentence of two years less a day, he heard no more about the case until two police officers arrived at his door in 2006 to question him about his recollections.

They did not tell him that Mr. Bernardo had confessed to 19 rapes or sexual offences that remained unsolved - including the one for which Mr. Hanemaayer had been convicted.

In early 2007, the Crown forwarded Mr. Bernardo's confession to defence lawyers for Robert Baltovich, who was convicted in the murder of Scarborough student Elizabeth Bain, his former girlfriend. Mr. Baltovich's lawyers were planning to point to Mr. Bernardo as being Ms. Bain's real killer.

Mr. Lockyer said yesterday that police interviews with Mr. Bernardo were so inadequate that further, skillful questioning could reveal more, useful details.

He also urged police to reopen their investigation into the murder of Ms. Bain - who AIDWYC believes was murdered by Mr. Bernardo. Last month, the Crown conceded that Mr. Baltovich should be acquitted in her murder.

Ontario Attorney-General Chris Bentley refused to comment yesterday on whether there had been undue delays in informing Mr. Hanemaayer that Mr. Bernardo had confessed to the sex attack.