“Marshall spent 11 years in jail before being acquitted by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal in 1983. A witness came forward to say he had seen another man stab Seale, and several prior witness statements pinpointing Marshall were recanted. In this appeal which acquitted him of the previous murder charge, Marshall was assumed to have lied in his first trial about his and Seale’s activities on the night of Seale’s death. The accusation was that he and Seale had actually approached Ebsary with the intention of robbing him and they were in the park that night. Ebsary was subsequently tried and convicted of manslaughter. When Marshall’s conviction was overturned, the presiding judge placed some blame on Marshall for the miscarriage of justice, calling him “the author of his own misfortune.” This was viewed as a “serious and fundamental error” by the Royal Commission report. Anne Derrick, Q.C., well-known social justice advocate lawyer, worked as Marshall’s counsel, and Order of Canada recipient Clayton Ruby was co-counsel for Marshall, along with Anne Derrick, during the 1989 Royal Commission on Marshall’s prosecution.
The Crown Attorney’s failure to provide full disclosure (contradictory and coerced statements by witnesses, because they believed the evidence not provided had no bearing in the case) brought about changes in the Canadian rules of evidence regarding disclosure. The prosecution must provide full disclosure without determination on what may be useful to the defence (that is the defence’s duty to decide). Now with this rule, all evidence collected by the prosecution and the defence must be shared among them both.”
Donald Marshall Jr. passed away from complications from a 2003 Lung Transplant operation.
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