Lawyer urges court to reopen Ivan Henry case


Globe and Mail Update

January 12, 2009 at 4:26 PM EST

VANCOUVER — The British Columbia Court of Appeal will on Tuesday decide whether to re-open the case of Ivan Henry, who was convicted of a string of Vancouver sex crimes, including rape and assault, in 1983 and has since been in jail.

Mr. Henry represented himself when he was on trial and over the past 25 years has filed more than 50 submissions protesting his innocence. The Court of Appeal in 1997 turned down a request to open the case.

Lawyers for Mr. Henry today said there are a host of problems with Mr. Henry's conviction, including questionable instructions from the judge at 1983 trial and sloppy police work, including a police lineup at which a struggling, yelling Mr. Henry was restrained by police officers as witnesses viewed the people in the lineup.

There is also new evidence that was not available at the time of Mr. Henry's trial, said David Layton, one of three lawyers representing Mr. Henry.

That new evidence includes results of a police investigation into sexual assaults that occurred in the 1980s and involve another person.

“This is a case where Mr. Henry has never wavered in asserting his innocence,” Mr. Layton told the court.

Crown lawyer David Crossin agreed the case must be reopened.

Special prosecutor Leonard Doust was appointed in 2007 to review Mr. Henry's convictions. Mr. Doust delivered his report to the Attorney General last year.

In 1984 the court dismissed an appeal in the case but Henry has continued his efforts to have his conviction overturned.

Last year B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal appointed a lawyer to review the conviction and a report suggests the case should be reopened.

With a report from The Canadian Press