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Immediately following the release of the Ontario Court of Appeal's decision on the Reference directed by the federal Minister of Justice, I was retained by the Attorney General to provide independent advice and recommendations on the issue of whether compensation ought to be paid to Mr. Truscott and his immediate family "based upon and accepting the findings" of the Court of Appeal and, if so, in what amount and by which level of government.
I have received extensive submissions on all aspects of this matter from Hersh Wolch, Q.C. and Marlys Edwardh, counsel for Mr. Truscott. Their assistance is very much appreciated. I have also received written personal statements from Mr. Truscott and his wife, Marlene, which detail the impact that the wrongful conviction has had on their lives.
In addition, Mr. Truscott's mother, Doris Brennan, sent a letter offering some insight into the turmoil and upheaval that her family suffered as a result of her son's conviction and imprisonment. Sadly, Mrs. Brennan died before my mandate was completed. I pause to express my condolences to Mr. Truscott and his family, and to voice my regret that Mrs. Brennan did not live to see the issue of compensation finally resolved.
I have also heard from Lynne Harper's family. Lynne's brother, Barry, and her father, Les, made helpful submissions to me in writing through their counsel, Ian Smith. I recognize the emotional upset that this process must cause them, and thank them for their participation.
The process that I have followed has, by design, been non-adversarial. My goal throughout has been to avoid causing any additional trauma to the interested parties - be they the family of Steven Truscott or of Lynne Harper - while still obtaining all of the information needed in order to advise the Attorney General as to what a fair and equitable result would be. I have been assisted in this process by Julie Rosenthal, a very able young counsel with Goodmans LXP, whose contribution has been substantial.
In coming to my conclusions, I have taken into account not only the interests of the Truscott family, and the Harper family, but also the broader interests of the public as a whole and, in particular, the public interest in the administration of justice.
My task begins, as it must, with the death of Lynne Harper.