Wrongful Convictions in Canada

62 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2011 Last revised: 10 Sep 2013

See all articles by Kent Roach

Kent Roach

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2011


This article provides an overview of wrongful convictions in Canada. The first part examines the number of wrongful convictions concluding that the 40-70 known wrongful convictions are likely the tip of the iceberg given that they mostly arise in homicide and/or sexual assault cases and that a number of recently revealed cases suggests that wrongful convictions may occur in guilty plea cases. The next part uses the Donald Marshall Jr and Tammy Marquardt cases as case studies of the two main forms of overturning wrongful convictions: petitions to the federal Minister of Justice to re-open cases and out of time appeals, both with fresh evidence. The article then examines the main causes of wrongful convictions and the role that police, prosecutors, providers of forensic evidence, defence counsel and judges and juries play in wrongful convictions and the remedies that have been proposed by various public inquiries and sometimes implemented in Canada to deal with those causes. The last part of this article will examine compensation for the wrongfully convicted including the steps that Canada has taken to comply with Article 14(6) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights with respect to compensation.

Keywords: Wrongful conviction

Suggested Citation

Roach, Kent, Wrongful Convictions in Canada (2011). 80 University of Cincinnati Law Review 1465 (2012), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1887889

Kent Roach (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A1
416-946-5645 (Phone)
416-978-2648 (Fax)

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