Wrongful conviction award for B.C. man capped at $8 million

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Ivan Henry, who was wrongfully convicted of sexual assault in 1983, leaves B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break in Vancouver, B.C., on Monday August 31, 2015. The B.C. Court of Appeal has ruled the provincial government will not have to pay the full $8 million in compensation awarded to a man who spent 27 years in prison before he was acquitted of sexual assault. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The B.C. Court of Appeal says the provincial government will not have to pay the full $8 million in compensation awarded to a man who spent 27 years in prison before he was acquitted of sexual assault.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge granted Ivan Henry the award last year, saying the Crown wrongfully withheld relevant information in a “shocking disregard” for his rights.

Henry was convicted of 10 counts of sexual assault in 1983 and was given an indefinite sentence before he was released on appeal and then acquitted of the charges in 2010.

Henry had settled out of court in a damage claim against the City of Vancouver and the federal government for $5.1 million, with the lower court judge ruling the money should be deducted from the damage award against the province.

Henry appealed the decision, saying the award of constitutional damages was for more than compensation and included damages for vindication and deterrence.

But an Appeal Court panel of three judges unanimously disagreed and said requiring the province to pay the entire $8 million settlement on top of the $5.1 million would have constituted a double recovery for Henry.

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“He would receive an additional sum in the millions of dollars, which would not be fair to the state,” Justice David Tysoe says in the written ruling released Monday.

The court says additional awards against the city and the federal government for vindication and deterrence weren’t necessary.

The lower court decision said the Crown in Henry’s original trial made an intentional decision not to disclose information relevant to his case, including that Vancouver police had more than one suspect for the sexual assaults.