WINDSOR, ON, May 3, 2012 /CNW/ - Romeo Phillion, who spent more than 31 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of the murder of Leopold Roy, has commenced a $14 million lawsuit for damages he suffered as a result of his wrongful murder conviction. The defendants in the action are the Attorney General for Ontario, the Ottawa Police Services Board and retired detectives John McCombie and Stephen Nadori.
Mr. Phillion was convicted of the murder of Leopold Roy on November 7, 1972 and sentenced to life in prison. On March 5, 2009, the Ontario Court of Appeal quashed his conviction and ordered a new trial. On April 29, 2010, the Crown withdrew the charge.
Leopold Roy was murdered on August 9, 1967 in Ottawa. Mr. Phillion was questioned by police, who subsequently confirmed that he was in the Trenton area (about 288 kilometers from Ottawa) at the time of the murder. As a result, police reports were prepared confirming that Mr. Phillion was not in Ottawa at the time of the murder because his vehicle had been towed to a service station near Trenton. About four years later, when Mr. Phillion was arrested on January 11, 1972 on an unrelated charge, he falsely confessed to the Roy murder. Later that day, he retracted his confession. According to the statement of claim, the police "orchestrated" witness statements in an "effort to support Phillion's confession and advance their case against him," despite their knowledge of Mr. Phillion's innocence.
In his lawsuit, Mr. Phillion alleges that his charge, prosecution, wrongful conviction and imprisonment for murder were the result of malicious, reckless and negligent conduct of the defendants. The statement of claim alleges that the defendants "failed to make full, frank and complete disclosure of all relevant evidence and information" to Mr. Phillion including "evidence that established that Phillion was at or near Trenton at the time Roy was murdered in Ottawa."
Mr. Phillion's lawyers are Harvey T. Strosberg, Q.C. and David Robins of Sutts, Strosberg LLP. Mr. Strosberg said, "It is unfortunate that the justice system cannot retroactively restore liberty."
Sutts, Strosberg LLP is one of Canada's leading litigation law firms with expertise in claims for wrongful conviction. In 2010, Mr. Strosberg and his partner Mr. Robins settled the wrongful conviction claim of William Mullins-Johnson for $4.25 million. Mr. Mullins-Johnson was wrongfully convicted of the murder of his niece in Ontario and spent over 12 years in prison. In 2008, they settled the wrongful conviction claim of James Driskell for more than $4 million. Mr. Driskell was wrongfully convicted of murder in Manitoba and spent 13 years in prison.
For further information:
Sutts, Strosberg LLP
or visit the website www.strosbergco.com