Justice Minister David Lametti’s decision says there was a reasonable basis to conclude a miscarriage of justice occurred in the case of Glen Assoun. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Murder conviction quashed for N.S. man who spent almost 17 years in jail

HALIFAX — The federal justice minister has quashed a murder conviction and directed a new trial for a Halifax-area man who was jailed for almost 17 years for the murder of his ex-girlfriend.

David Lametti’s decision says there was a reasonable basis to conclude a miscarriage of justice occurred in the case of Glen Assoun.

It also says a federal inquiry showed that ”relevant and reliable information” was never provided to Assoun during his trial in 1999.

Assoun was convicted by a jury of killing Brenda LeAnne Way, whose body was found in a Halifax-area parking lot on Nov. 12, 1995.

The case against him was based largely on the testimony of witnesses whose circumstantial evidence has since been questioned by lawyers who work to free the wrongfully convicted.

Kirk Makin, co-president of the Innocence Canada legal group, said Lametti’s decision represents the ”next development in what we believe is an egregious wrongful conviction case.”

Assoun was scheduled to be in court Friday with his lawyers Sean MacDonald and Philip Campbell to present arguments for his continued release, based on Lametti’s decision.

He has been out on bail since November 2014, based on a preliminary assessment that determined he may have been wrongfully convicted.

Assoun was found guilty of Way’s death on Sept. 17, 1999.

Her body was found with multiple stab wounds, her top had been pulled up and her throat was slashed.

Assoun was arrested and jailed in March 1998, despite having an alibi that he was with another woman that night. He would remain in jail for almost 17 years.

That is six years longer than the 11 years that Donald Marshall Jr., a Mi’kmaq leader and Indigenous activist, served for his wrongful conviction for a murder in 1971.

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