On Perry’s hair. When the jury was

On September 30th 1990, a train passenger spotted a body buried in a grave. The police officer identified the body. The body found was Perry Harder of Winnipeg. Perry had been shot many times in the chest.

Police believed that James Driskell was responsible for Perry’s death. The police believed that he was responsible because of the chop shop case. Before Perry was found dead, he ran a shop where they sold stolen car parts. For that case Perry was offered a plea and was also set to testify against James without his knowledge. When Perry was set to testify he did not show up to the court so the charges were dropped.

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On October 23rd 1990, James Driskell was arrested for the first-degree murder of Perry. James trail began on June 3, 1991. (Logan, S. H. (November). AIDWYC is now Innocence Canada Retrieved from https://www.aidwyc.

org/cases/historical/james-driskell/). The crown had two key witnesses. The two witnesses were: Reath Zanidean and John Gumieny. Reath and Zanidean had said that James was planning to kill Perry so he would not be able to testify against him.

During the trial, the crown had forensic evidence. The forensic evidence they had was a hair microscopy evidence. In James van the police found strands of hair that matched Perry’s hair.

When the jury was presented with this forensic evidence they deliberated and convicted James of first degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 25 years. In December 1992 James appealed his conviction and was denied by the Manitoba court of Appeal. (Logan, S.

H. (November). AIDWYC is now Innocence Canada.

Retrieved from http://www.aidwyc.org/cases/historical/james-driskell/).

After spending thirteen years in prison James reached out to AIDWYC. The AIDWYC persuaded Manitoba Justice to retake the DNA testing on the hair samples. When the second testing was done for the hair samples it revealed that none of the three hairs found in Driskell’s van belonged to Perry. After the second testing of the hair sample it has also been revealed that the three hair strands belonged to three different people. This revelation suggested that James was wrongfully convicted of first degree murder. Upon further investigation is was revealed that the two main witnesses the Crown had called on stand to testify were paid a lot of money to give false statements. When James appeal was heard in December, the defence counsel was not disclosed of the payments and the witness’s creditability to the case. Driskell was granted bail in November 2003.

The federal justice minister Liberal Irwin Cotler got rid of the conviction and ordered a new trial for James in 2005. After that the Manitoba government opted to stay the trail and end the case without exonerating Driskell. (News, C.

(2009, August 06). Canada’s wrongful convictions. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/canada-s-wrongful-conviction-1.783998). In 2005 James was set free.

In the case R.V Driskell, James Driskell was wrongfully convicted of the first-degree murder of his friend Perry Harder. During the trail, the crown’s main witnesses were paid to give a false testimony. The crown’s forensic evidence was three strands of hair that at the time matched Perry’s head.

In 2002 after AIDWYC sent the three strands of hair to the U.K for further investigation, the hair was found to have come from three different people and not one of those pieces of hair matched Perry’s. During the original trail the three hair strands was what lead to the conviction of James. In this case the factual guilt should have taken precedent over legal guilt. In this case there was an insufficient amount of evidence to prosecute James. Driskell’s rights were not respected and protected, and the trail proceedings of the trail were not fair.

Lastly, the last reason why there should have been more factual guilt instead of legal guilt is because all of the evidence was tampered with. In the trail R.V Driskell there wasn’t any sufficient evidence that could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was guilty of first degree murder. The key witnesses were career criminals that were paid to give false testimony to the court. The forensic evidence expert Tod Steven Christianson testified that the hairs were from Perry’s head. Christianson “told the jury that the chances were not very high that these hairs were not from the same person” (R. v. Driskell, 2004 MBQB 3 (CanLII),

ca/t/1g5qm>, retrieved on 2017-10-20 paragraph 36) In the original trail the expert insisted that all three hairs belonged to Perry but when the stands of hair was retested in the U.K none of the three hairs belonged to Perry. All the evidence presented in the original trial was false which led to Driskell’s wrongful conviction. During the trail process James Driskell’s rights were not respected and the trial proceeding were not fair.

During the trail when the crown had brought in the two witnesses that they paid to testify against James. The Crown had failed to inform the defence the credibility of Zanidean as a witness “Zanidean misled the jury as to the benefits he was receiving in exchange for his testimony” (R. v. Driskell, 2004 MBQB 3 (CanLII), , retrieved on 2017-10-20 paragraph 30). The Crown knew that Zanidean wasn’t a witness and they paid him in exchange for his arson charges to be dropped.

The Crown failed to mention this to the defence before the appeal of Driskell’s conviction. James was found legally guilty even though his procedural safeguards haven’t been respected. One of the procedural safe guards is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Before he was found guilty of murder he was already portrayed as guilty. The crown said that that James had a motive to kill. They said that because of the chop shop case when Perry was going to testify against James was the reason why.

During the trail, it has been suggested that the evidence against James was not enough to convict him but also that some evidence was tampered with. One example of tampering with evidence is when the crown paid Zanidean to lie about Driskell’s true intentions. Manitoba’s deputy attorney general Bruce stated that “Prosecutors were able to examine only the 175-page report completed in response to a series of Winnipeg sun articles that raised serious questions about the investigation…. And the judge who ordered the report made public said it did indeed contain information that could demonstrate Mr.

Driskell may have been the victim of a miscarriage of justice”. (T. (2003, November 27). Was James Driskell unjustly convicted? Retrieved October 20, 2017, from https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/was-james-driskell-unjustly-convicted/article1341418/?ref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theglobeandmail.

com&). During the trail, the witnesses were paid by authorities to lie, which resulted in a false conviction. I think that with all this evidence being tampered with and the fact that the defence did not know about this proves that the legal system should focus on both legal and factual guilt.In conclusion, this case should have focused more on factual guilt instead of legal guilt.

This case should have focused more on factual instead of legal guilt because the way the trial was tried was not the best. James’s procedural safeguards were not protected. One of James’s procedural safe guard that was not protected was his right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This was not protected because the crown had painted James’s as a criminal and thief because of the chop shop case. During the trail when the crown called upon an expert witness the expert insisted that the three hair strands were 100% Perry’s when in fact it was not. There was not much evidence against James.

The only evidence against him were two witnesses that were paid to fabricate a story about how James wanted to kill his friend Perry.


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