YORKTON – A bail hearing for Odelia and Nerissa Quewezance is scheduled for Jan. 17 – 18 in Yorkton Court of King’s Bench after it was adjourned in November 2022.
The sisters have maintained their innocence since they were convicted in 1994 of second-degree murder in the 1993 death of Kamsack-area farmer Anthony Joseph Dolff. The sisters' cousin – who was a youth at the time - has repeatedly admitted that he is the one who killed Dolff and not the sisters. He was sentenced to only four years in prison and the sisters were sentenced to life in prison.
“Our hope is that the Quewezance sisters are granted bail pending federal conviction review, which can take up to two years,” said Nicole Porter from N. A. Porter and Associates who has been working on the sisters' case along with Kim Beaudin, National Vice-Chief of Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and lawyer James Lockyer from Innocence Canada.
“If granted bail, Odelia and Nerissa will be able to go home and finally be with their family after being incarcerated for 30 years for a crime they did not commit,” said Porter.
Nerissa and Odelia have the support of high-profile advocates such as Senator Kim Pate, Innocence Canada, Kim Beaudin from Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the late David Milgaard and retired judges Justices Harry LaForme and Juanita Westmoreland-Traore – who were appointed by federal justice minister David Lametti in 2021 to head the creation of an independent Criminal Case Review Commission to review wrongful convictions.
An Indigenous representative is expected to petition in front of Saskatchewan’s Legislature in Regina on Jan 17.
“This is to raise awareness of the Quewezance case and of the bail hearing going on that day, and to encourage the minister of justice and government officials to acknowledge the harm done and make attempts at reconciliation,” said Porter.
The 1994 convictions of Odelia and Nerissa Quewezance from Keeseekoose First Nation for the 1993 murder of 70-year-old Joseph Dolff of Kamsack are currently under review by the federal justice department as a possible miscarriage of justice.
In December 2021, Lockyer had asked the Saskatchewan government to reduce the sisters’ three-decades old second-degree murder convictions to manslaughter. A spokesperson from Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice and Attorney General wouldn’t confirm if they have received Lockyer’s proposal.
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