OTTAWA, ON, Oct. 26, 2023 /CNW/ - A fair and impartial criminal justice system is one that protects communities and respects the needs of victims while guarding against potential miscarriages of justice.
The Honourable Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced that, following an extensive review, he has referred the case of M.R. to the Court of Appeal of Quebec for a new appeal pursuant to the conviction review provisions of the Criminal Code.
The Minister of Justice determined that there is a reasonable basis to conclude that a miscarriage of justice likely occurred. This determination is a result of the identification of new information that was not before the courts at the time of M.R.'s trial or appeal, calling into question the overall fairness of the process. The Minister's decision to order a new appeal is not a decision about the guilt or innocence of the applicant. It is a decision to return the matter to the courts where the relevant legal issues may be determined according to the law.
In 2002, M.R. was convicted of sexual assault against a minor. A sentence of two years less one day was imposed. Their appeal to the Quebec Court of Appeal was dismissed on September 1, 2004. In April 2005, M.R. sought and was denied leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. They submitted their application for criminal conviction review in 2017.
"All people living in Canada should have confidence that the justice system is there to protect them and that it can be trusted. A fair justice system must also be compassionate and balance the needs of victims while guarding against potential miscarriages of justice. This is why we have a process in place to review such cases. This case is particularly tragic because it involves a sexual assault of a minor. However, following a thorough review of M.R.'s case, there are reasonable grounds to conclude that a miscarriage of justice likely occurred and that a further appeal of the conviction is needed."
The Honourable Arif Virani, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
SOURCE Department of Justice Canada