Canada’s most recognized wrongfully convicted man dies

Donald Marshall Jr. will be remembered as an aboriginal activist


The man behind Canada’s highest-profile wrongful conviction case died Thursday morning, in a hospital in Sydney, N.S. Donald Marshall Jr., 55, was convicted in 1971 of murdering a friend in a Sydney park. At age 17, he received a life sentence for the crime. But in 1982, the RCMP reviewed the case and determined that he had not committed the murder—allowing Marshall to be cleared a year later. Still, it wasn’t until 1990 that a royal commission—in a seven-volume report—admitted that systemic racism had contributed to Marshall’s imprisonment. Marshall was a member of the Mi’kmaq First Nation. “The criminal justice system failed Donald Marshall Jr. at virtually every turn form his arrest and wrongful conviction for murder in 1971 up to and even beyond his acquittal by the Court of Appeal in 1983,” a report explained. Marshall, who was later a key figure in the Supreme Court of Canada’s 1999 decision to extend aboriginal treaty rights to fish and Hunt, will be remembered for his contribution to First Nations across Canada. Marshall’s family says he was admitted to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital several days before he died because of complications from a 2003 lung transplant surgery.

CBC News

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Canada’s most recognized wrongfully convicted man dies

  1. RIP Donald Marshall, and condolences to his family. His contribution to civilizing our justice system, and the price he paid in personal suffering, will not soon be forgotten.

  2. I think DM is a great example of how, while we are all flawed, we all also deserve a basic level of respect, due process and our dignity. Canada is much better off for counting DM as one of its citizens. RIP.

  3. This is very sad. RIP.

  4. my condolences to JR,S family . His Legacy will set a example of our Rights ,and hope& pray that other polictical prisoners around the world get some sort of Freedoms. The Mikmaq Nation has been better since your fight for our Hunting & fishing Rights,in the Spotlight. thanks made a Big difference to better the movement of peoples lives in our Communitys. until we meet again . Rest in Peace.