June 13th, 2024

Federal justice minister orders review of Quebec man’s 2002 sex assault conviction

By The Canadian Press on October 26, 2023.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Arif Virani rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. The federal justice minister has ordered the Quebec Court of Appeal to review the conviction of a Quebec man found guilty of sexual assault involving a minor more than two decades ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – The federal justice minister has ordered the Quebec Court of Appeal to review the conviction of a man found guilty of sexual assault more than two decades ago.

Justice Minister Arif Virani says in a statement there is “a reasonable basis to conclude that a miscarriage of justice likely occurred,” based on new information not available during the Quebec man’s trial or his appeal.

The man is identified only by the initials M.R. because the case involved the alleged sexual assault of a minor under his care.

Virani says that following an extensive review, he has referred the case to the Quebec Court of Appeal to hear a new appeal according to conviction review provisions in the Criminal Code.

In February 2002, M.R. was convicted in provincial court in Quebec City of sexually assaulting a minor between 1998 and 2000 and was sentenced to two years less a day.

The Quebec Court of Appeal dismissed M.R.’s appeal on Sept. 1, 2004, and in April 2005, he was denied leave to appeal by the Supreme Court of Canada.

An application for criminal conviction review was filed in 2017.

The minister says that the new information calls into question the fairness of the legal process but notes that ordering another appeal is not a decision on the guilt or innocence of the accused.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 26, 2023.

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