State Responses to Wrongful Conviction in Canada: The Role of Commissions of Inquiry

Kathryn M. Campbell, University of Ottawa

In recent years several high profile cases of wrongful conviction in Canad have garnered a great deal of media and political attention. In three particular instances, provincial governments have responded to these miscarriages of justice by calling commissions of inquiry to investigate errors made by agents of the criminal justice system, assign blame and in some cases award compensation. While somewhat limnited in their ability to enforce recommendations, such commissions nonetheless serve a symbolic function with respect to government accountability to the public. These three cases will be examined to illuminate how wrongful convictions could have occurred, the factors that fostered the commissions of inquiry and the extent to which the provinces have since addressed the recommendations.

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Updated 05/20/2006