Clearly, there was no advantage for him to defend himself on multiple sex charges in B. C. Supreme Court. But he did and despite a lack of reliable evidence -- and a host of other troublesome factors, unacknowledged at his trial but surfacing now -- Henry was convicted by a jury on three counts of rape, two counts of attempted rape and five of indecent assault.
A judge declared him a dangerous offender, which meant he might never experience freedom again.
He has spent the past 26 years in prison for crimes he has always maintained he did not commit.
The record now casts serious doubt on the prosecution's case against him and the process leading to it.
The province's highest court is expected to rule today on an application to reopen his appeal.
At a court proceeding yesterday, a lawyer representing the Crown allowed that Henry might not have received a fair trial in 1983.
He raised no objection to a defence application that would reopen the case.
Instead, independent special prosecutor David Crossin offered stunning concessions. He did so as cautiously as possible given the circumstances.
He did not wish to lay specific blame on those police officers who investigated a string of sexual assaults in Vancouver, or the team of Crown lawyers who prosecuted the case all those years ago, or the witnesses and complainants who came forward at Henry's trial and identified him as the perpetrator of rape.
But "relevant and potentially exculpatory" evidence had surfaced while Henry languished in prison.
He had, in the 1980s and 1990s, tried to initiate 55 proceedings, all on his own. None succeeded.
He had no means to hire a lawyer and no real shot at mounting an appeal.
Last year, however, another independent special prosecutor reviewed his case and recommended the Crown not oppose reopening an appeal. It was only then that he was granted access to legal aid funds. He hired good lawyers.
They have applied to have the courts set aside earlier orders dismissing Henry's attempts for an appeal. He may soon go back to trial.
Yesterday, lawyers for the defence and the Crown stood before a B. C. Court of Appeal panel and agreed on everything. Mr. Crossin outlined four specific areas of concern. Most disturbing, perhaps, was Crown counsel's failure to disclose material evidence to Henry before and during his trial. "There was, in fact, nondisclosure," Mr. Crossin said in court yesterday.
Defence counsel David Layton filled in the blanks. The Crown failed to disclose 27 statements taken from individual complainants leading to Henry's trial, court heard yesterday. "In many cases, these were the first descriptions [of their rape and assault] by complainants to police," he added.
These witness statements didn't always match witness testimonies at trial. Initially, not one of the complainants told police that her attacker had a raspy, rough voice. After hearing Henry speak in a police lineup, some complainants would describe their attacker's voice as raspy and rough.