Innocence Canada

AIDWYC is now Innocence Canada

Along with our new name, we'll also be launching a new and improved website in the coming months.
Thank you for visiting today, and we look forward to welcoming you back soon!

Conviction: The Innocence Canada Blog

20 03, 2017

Innocence Canada Round Table- February 10, 2017 in Toronto, ON

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Innocence Canada held round table discussions on February 10, 2017 in Toronto, ON.

This round table represents the beginnings of the work that is needed to address the reality of wrongful conviction in the criminal justice system.

In attendance at this meeting were multi-disciplined justice system stakeholders from across Canada. The roundtable discussion allowed the stakeholders to engage and deliberate on the topic of how to improve post-conviction review work in Canada, and how to help prevent such miscarriages of justice through legislative and policy based reform.

There were three (3) major subject arears that were addressed:
1)    Preventions and Remedies for Wrongful Convictions;
2)    Wrongful Convictions of Indigenous People and Marginalized Groups; and
3)    The Future Model of Post-Conviction Review Work in Canada.

The overall dialogue was beneficial, resulting in a number of recommendations for improving the justice system.

Please note: Innocence Canada will be releasing recommendations in the coming months.

16 03, 2017

Former AIDWYC Board Member – Edward Sapiano – Back in Action!

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In 2014, Mr. Sapiano experienced Kidney failure – nearly ending his life in the midst of a high-profile murder trial. He was immediately placed on dialysis. Now after two and a half years, Mr. Sapiano will eagerly return to work this Spring. He is believed to be the first lawyer in Canada to undergo ten hours daily of dialysis, all while continuing to practice. Welcome back Edward, Superman indeed!

Click here for more information.

23 01, 2017

Death in the Family-How Parents Fought Against “Thinking Dirty”

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John Chipman’s new book, Death in the Family investigates the devastating consequences of the “think dirty” approach of the Ontario Coroner’s office in the mid-‘90s. Dangerous assumptions were made about the cause of pediatric deaths that resulted in parents being wrongly charged in the deaths of their children. At the heart of the “think dirty” approach was Dr. Charles Smith, chief pathologist of the Ontario Pediatric Forensic Pathology Unit who despite his lack of forensic training, gave opinions on the causes of death that were frequently the foundation of convictions and investigations. This book brings a voice to the victims of Dr. Charles Smith and showcases the shattering consequences of justice system failure.

The following articles showcase the stories of the victims and the challenges of plea bargains.

Convicted of killing her son based on Charles Smith’s testimony, Tammy Marquardt enters the Prison for Women. An excerpt from Death in the Family:


Charles Smith scandal: How a mother wrongly accused of killing her son fought back. The story of Lianne Thibeault:

‘I fought back’: A mother’s fight to clear her name in toddler death. The story of Brenda Waudby:

Why plea bargains can be a deal with the devil:

8 01, 2017

John F Ross CVI Students Eat, Bake and Write for Justice

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Thank you to the amazing Grade 11 English students of Ms. Yanchus from John F Ross CVI for raising money for Innocence Canada by baking for justice. They have been learning about injustice and wrongful conviction. Check out their insightful thoughts below.


8 01, 2017

Longboarding for Peace features Innocence Canada Co-President Ron Dalton

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15 12, 2016

A Special Holiday Message from Innocence Canada

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Seasons Greetings,

Thank you to everyone for your support of Innocence Canada in 2016! We hope that during this special season and throughout the year to come that we can count on your continued interest and encouragement, which is essential, needed and inspiring.

Innocence Canada is grateful to the Government of Ontario and the Law Society of Upper Canada for the funding it will receive to help sustain its operations for the next three years. However, we need to continue our fundraising efforts in order to address the shortfall that still exists for 2017. We require additional funding to continue our important work on behalf of innocent Canadians who are incarcerated for crimes they did not commit. Our clients have been forced to be separated from their families, friends, and communities. However, despite their pain and suffering, they have refused to give in or give up their quest and fight to clear their names.

Their indomitable spirit is inspiring and heart wrenching as they valiantly persevere despite dashed hopes, disappointments, closed doors, and sometimes seemingly impossible odds and challenges. Innocence Canada has successfully assisted in the exoneration of no fewer than 21 wrongfully convicted Canadians – including Guy Paul Morin, David Milgaard, Steven Truscott, Romeo Phillion, Dinesh Kumar, Leighton Hay, and Maria Shepherd.

Combined, Innocence Canada’s clients have spent in excess of 190 years incarcerated for crimes they did not commit!

Maria Shepherd, who was acquitted on February 29, 2016 had this to say:

“Without Innocence Canada, I would not have had my name cleared.  Innocence Canada is an essential organization that not only provided hope, freedom and emotional support to me and my family but to countless other people convicted of crimes they did not commit.   As long as Innocence [...]

15 12, 2016

Ontario Supporting Legal Advocacy for People Who May Have Been Wrongfully Convicted

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13 11, 2016

David Willson Obituary

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David Willson, who reviewed cases on behalf of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC) now Innocence Canada, unexpectedly passed away on November 3, 2016 in Hawkesbury, Ontario after losing his brave battle with cancer.
David was a highly intelligent man of boundless energy who enjoyed life to its fullest.  He had a quick wit, a huge and generous heart and an adventurous spirit.
He will be remembered for his selfless dedication to his family, friends, and clients.
Innocence Canada is grateful to David for supporting the wrongly convicted and for volunteering countless hours to reviewing cases on our behalf.
We offer our deepest and heartfelt condolences to Francesca, their four children, seven grandchildren and other family members and friends.
We will remember David fondly and will especially miss our many interesting talks.  All conversations with David were sprinkled with a good dose of laughter.
With deep sadness,
Innocence Canada
Please find David’s obituary here:

27 10, 2016

Peter Meier Memorial

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There will be a memorial service for Peter on November 5th at 2 p.m. at the following:
Friends House
60 Lowther Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5R 1C7
Please come to honour an extraordinary man, who was  the president of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted, AIDWYC (now Innocence Canada) for 11 years and Board member for 18 years.  His leadership and selfless contribution to the furtherance of innocence work was significant and deeply respected.


Peter’s Obituary can be found here

29 09, 2016

Peter F. Meier (April 22, 1944 – September 21, 2016)

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Peter Meier was honoured to be chosen as this year’s recipient of the Rubin Hurricane Carter Champion of Justice Award. Sadly, Peter unexpectedly passed away on the evening of Wednesday, September 21st.

Peter came from England with his lovely wife, Rosemary in 1973 to make Canada their home. Peter by profession was a lawyer but devoted his life trying to help those that were often forgotten and rejected by society.

Peter was a member of the Justice for Guy Paul Morin Committee and one of the founders of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC). Peter was AIDWYC’s president from its inception in 1993 until 2004 when he felt the need to resign as president after he was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease. Peter remained actively involved as a Board member, mentor and friend to the wrongly convicted and AIDWYC where he served on the Board for 18 years.

Peter was a quiet, thoughtful, humble and unassuming gentleman. He was an intellect who was strong of heart, spirit and determination who never lost the common touch. He championed the cause of the wrongly convicted, always welcoming a challenge head-on. His leadership qualities and abilities were unsurpassed! Peter was loved by many, it was often said that, “if you didn’t like Peter Meier there was something wrong with you.”

Peter always treated everyone with respect, dignity, and integrity.

Peter, we are honoured that we had the privilege of having you amongst us fighting the good fight. You gave so much to so many. You will never be forgotten. Rest in peace knowing you are loved and cherished.

The pain of losing Peter is immeasurable.

We extend our deep and heartfelt condolences to Peter’s wife Rosemary, his son Paul, daughter Kate and [...]