Former judges to lead consultations on planned new wrongful convictions commission

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OTTAWA — The federal Liberals have appointed two former judges to lead consultations on the creation of an independent commission to review possible wrongful convictions.

Harry LaForme, former justice of the Ontario Court of Appeal, and Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré, who sat on the Court of Quebec, will confer with interested parties on the structure and mandate of the new commission.

The move is another step toward fulfilling a commitment in Justice Minister David Lametti's mandate letter to create body that would make it easier and faster for potentially wrongfully convicted people to have their cases examined.

The Justice Department says the two former judges will consult provincial and territorial partners, criminal law professionals, victims of crime, Indigenous Peoples, Black Canadians and other racialized communities, and organizations that advocate for the wrongfully convicted.

Once consultations are complete, a report detailing the findings and recommendations will be submitted to Lametti to inform next steps.

Innocence Canada, which helps people who insist they have experienced a miscarriage of justice, praised the appointments and said they will ensure a sound set of recommendations for a review commission.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 31, 2021.

The Canadian Press