Ivan Henry, a British Columbia man who spent 27 years in jail for sex assaults he did not commit, has won his bid for compensation from both the City of Vancouver and the federal government, with only the province yet to approve its end of the settlement.
Today, Henry's lawyer John Laxton announced in court that they had reached an agreement with the federal government and that Ottawa would be dropping their counter case.
"The federal government has not made any allegation that Mr. Henry was guilty as charged but they have heard these allegations repeated in open court and have not commented on them," Laxton said in court, according to the Vancouver Sun. "The federal government now states that no inference should be drawn that the federal government ever agreed with these allegations or that the federal government ever condoned that making of these allegations and the federal government absolutely disavows them now."
Henry, who has been fighting his case against the city, the province, and the federal government since August, is seeking compensation for the nearly three decades he spent behind bars for crimes he didn't commit.
In 1982, Henry was charged by Vancouver Police with multiple counts of sexual assault after a number of victims pinned him as the perpetrator during a lineup of suspects. Henry, who had a previous criminal record that consisted of an attempted sexual assault, was deemed a dangerous offender. He was released and acquitted in 2010 after an inquiry into his case found that the police had improperly handled multiple pieces of evidence and may have pressured the victims into accepting their side of the story.
On November 16, the City of Vancouver dropped its case against Henry. The city had previously made the argument that Henry would have ended up in jail even if he wasn't wrongfully imprisoned at the time, citing his previous criminal activities.
The only remaining contender in the way of Henry's goal of full compensation is the provincial government of British Columbia, which will give its closing arguments this Friday.
Laxton said Henry, who was not in court at the time of the announcement, was "very happy, delighted."
"I congratulate you on the settlement," Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson told the court.
Henry has faced severe scrutiny from all three levels of government on the basis that he has been an outspoken figure in court, oftentimes representing himself and speaking very emotionally at his trial.
No details about the nature or amount of the settlement have yet been released, as the trial is not fully over.
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