Oct. 16, 2009
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following statement was issued today by the Office of the Attorney General on the resolution of the case involving Erin Michael Walsh.
The Honourable Michael Murphy, Q.C., Attorney General, and Erin Michael Walsh, today announced that the civil action by Mr. Walsh against the Province and others has been resolved.
In 1975, Mr. Walsh was convicted of second-degree murder following the shooting death of a Saint John man. He was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 10 years. The conviction was upheld on appeal in 1982.
In 2006, Mr. Walsh filed an application under section 696.1 of the Criminal Code (Canada) arguing that his conviction resulted from a miscarriage of justice.
In July 2007, Mr. Walsh commenced a civil action against the Province, former Crown prosecutor William McCarroll, the City of Saint John and various named police chiefs of the Saint John Police Force.
In March 2008, following a Reference pursuant to the Criminal Code by the Federal Minister of Justice, which did not involve Mr. McCarroll, the City of Saint John or the named police chiefs, the New Brunswick Court of Appeal accepted various documents as fresh evidence. Mr. Walsh now acknowledges and agrees that these documents did not meet the test of admissibility before the Court of Appeal and should not have formed a basis for that Court's findings.
The parties to the civil action now acknowledge and agree that in fact all relevant documents were available to Mr. Walsh and his defence counsel and that Mr. McCarroll and the police, respectively, acted at all times in good faith and in accordance with the law and fully complied with all of their obligations to Mr. Walsh and to the public in the investigation and prosecution and are therefore completely absolved of all allegations of any wrongdoing.
The Province acknowledges and agrees however that a miscarriage of justice may have occurred respecting the 1975 conviction because of the timelines, processes and procedures of the day. The Province and the City have therefore agreed to pay compensation to Mr. Walsh and his wife.
The parties are pleased that this matter has been concluded to the satisfaction of all involved. The details of the settlement are subject to a confidentiality agreement among the parties to the civil action and their respective legal counsel.
MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Ketcheson, communications, Office of the Attorney General, 506-444-5816.