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 Paul Morin knows the power of forensic evidence

Forensics is generally defined as the accurate application of science and its techniques to investigations in order to obtain impartial evidence that may assist legal bodies in developing an understanding of crime, and disclose it’s perpetrators – unfortunately, definitions and practice rarely coincide. Just ask Paul Morin.

October 3, 1984, saw the commencement of a 3 month long search into the disappearance of nine year old Christine Jessop, abducted from the front of her home in Queensville, Ontario, and found later dead, 50 km east of her dwelling. The investigation that followed could be perceived as comical, if it were not so appalling. The evidence available almost certainly would have been enough to disclose the identity of the criminal, or at least allow for the development of a useful characteristic database – unfortunately, each piece of this vital data collected was either misconceived, tainted, destroyed, lost or unduly relied on by those responsible for its collection, protection, analysis and impartial presentation.

Like most countries under English (Canada) or American legislative structures, police officers are required to adhere to regulations pertaining to the protection of crime scenes and their adjoining areas in order to obtain as much information about crimes as possible. On December 31, 1984, the date Christine Jessop’s body was found (dental records positively identified her on January 1, 1985), "a cigarette butt was located in the general vicinity of her remains. It was tagged, bagged and photographed by Sergeant Michalowsky, the senior identification officer who was in charge of the identification unit at the Durham Regional Police Service". The relevance of this cigarette butt was uncertain at the time, because it may have been placed at the scene prior to, during, or even after the incident –though the latter is highly unlikely as it stands to reason that any person that close to the dead body would have noticed it visually or by scent, and in turn reported it to the authorities. If the butt did belong to the killer, then there was the possibility that it contained the key to uncovering the culprit’s identity, left behind by trace elements such as DNA found in saliva. Almost one year later, during a meeting of the Crown attorneys and police officers, Sergeant Michalowsky made comments to the effect that "we even find our own officers’ cigarette butts at crime scenes". Ironically, this was the situation with the butt found near Christine’s body. On January 7th, 1986, Detective Fitzpatrick called a meeting between himself and any officers attending the body site who were smokers. It was discovered that Constable Cameron had in fact discarded his own cigarette near the body, and later realising it was inappropriate, removed it. Unfortunately, photographs taken at the scene depict that the cigarette was of a different brand to those consumed by any of the officers – which in turn suggests that Constable Cameron accidentally removed and disposed of evidence, leaving his own cigarette as a substitute. Sergeant Michalowsky later testified that no cigarette butts were found at all. In 1990, following an Ontario Provincial Police investigation, Michalowsky was charged with one count of perjury for his part in making false statements under oath, and two counts of willfully attempting to obstruct justice.

Dr. Hillsdon Smith conducted the autopsy on January 2, 1985. It was noted that the following internal injuries were present - two mid frontal area bruises caused by blunt impacts; a cut on the fourth lumbar vertebrae, located on the lower portion of the back; and a cut in the sixth, seventh and eight right rib, including a fracture. It was concluded that the injuries were consistent with having been caused by multiple stab wounds from a single sided knife, no more than an inch wide. Due to the decomposition of the body, it was not possible to determine if the deceased had been sexually assaulted. During a second autopsy in 1990, Dr. Clyde Snow with the assistance of Dr. Hans, a forensic pathologist, it was uncovered that the initial autopsy was somewhat inadequate. New findings included - a massive skull fracture, damaged vertebrae, and breastbone injuries. It is possible that the original oversight may have been caused by a lack of training on the behalf of those working within the autopsy department, because there is very little regulation as to who works within Canadian morgues. Unlike Australia, which requires any doctor participating in autopsy to have undertaken extensive training (6years of medical school, 2 years of medical residency, and 5 years of pathological training in at least one of three areas (anatomical, general, or histo. pathology)), Canada does not require anything more than a general study of pathology.

The initial autopsy and crime scene findings prompted the use of John Douglas, a former FBI forensic profiler, in order to develop a profile of the killer that would help police with their investigation. By this stage of the inquiry, Paul Morin had already become somewhat of a suspect in the case – but when the profile was developed, it closely paralleled his character - a parallel that ken Jessop (Christine’s brother) later suggested was "custom fitted" by Douglas to fit Morin. This profile was then released to the general public with the acknowledgement that it fit Morin more so than any of the other 4 suspects under investigation, thereby prejudicing Morin’s legal right (under the section 11(d) within the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Act of 1982, which states individuals must be presumed innocent until proven guilty) to a fair trial. Many criticisms of this technique have since surfaced, particularly the fact that it was too heavily relied on by police, whilst other evidence such as the cigarette butt, that may have helped establish the identity of the true criminal, or at least other suspects, was simply ignored.

Paul Morin was arrested at 7.45 p.m. on April 22, 1985. At the police station Morin volunteered samples of his hair, blood and saliva, which were subsequently delivered to the Centre of Forensic Sciences in conjunction with his motor vehicle. It should be noted that evidence collection guidelines for Canadian police clearly stipulates that a minimum number of fifty hairs must be obtained for an accurate comparisons; but in this instance, only ten to fifteen hairs samples were acquired. "Morin proclaimed his innocence throughout the six hour interrogation following his arrest. In the course of the questioning he produced a penknife which was ultimately tendered into evidence…. as a possible murder weapon". A search of Morin’s home was also undertaken, with the intention of discovering some sort of evidence that could tie him to the murder – particularly a murder weapon, buttons missing from Christine’s blouse, a blue woolen sweater, clothing items that contained blood stains, and most of all, gold coloured seat covers and animal hairs. The gold coloured seat covers were of great importance because Stephanie Nyznyk (a scientist at the Centre of Forensic Sciences) found "gold coloured fibres on Christine Jessop’s clothing taken from the body site that were consistent with the type of fibres used in the manufacture of upholstery and floor coverings for vehicles". A total of 149 exhibits were taken from the home, of which only one – being a dark grey fibre found on the living room rug – was ever proved to be of any significance.

Morin was brought to trial on January 7, 1986. The Crown brought forward several pieces of evidence, including hair samples found on Christine’s necklace which supposedly matched Morin’s, 3 hairs found in the defendant’s vehicle that could possibly have belonged to the deceased, fibres and animal hairs found at the murder scene as well as the suspects home and car. Other evidence included statements made by prisoners, statements made by Morin to police in February 1985 (which allegedly demonstrated his consciousness of guilt), as well as evidence that Morin had ample opportunity to commit the crime.

Out of all the evidence brought forward, the only reliable exhibits that had any value would have been the fibre and hair samples. Ms. Nyznyk testified that the strongest conclusion that could be drawn from a hair fibre is that it is ‘consistent with’ having come from a particular source. The second strongest conclusion is that a hair or fibre ‘could have’ come from a particular source. She was unable to state that the hair was ‘consistent with’ having come from Morin because she could not make a full comparison because of it’s decomposition. If the police officers had bothered to investigate their cases less flamboyantly, they would have discovered that Christine had the opportunity to make contact with at least two other individuals at her school, who had hair ‘consistent’ with that of the suspect. The there is the matter of the handful of fibres found on the victim’s clothing – which were said to match a small number of fibres found in the Morin home and family car - which the Crown had insisted was proof that Christine had been driven to her death by Morin. "Since the Centre collected many of these bits of lint by vacuuming the interior of the car, the defence thought it important to know whether the vacuum bags had been sterile". When asked the question in court, the scientists didn’t know. Following a freedom of information request on the defence’s behalf, they were informed that no records existed to even indicate where the bags had even been purchased so that the question of sterilisation could be concluded. Later investigations discovered that the individuals responsible for examining fibres had produced graphs that clearly displayed their lack of understanding for the machinery that they were using. Further concern was expressed upon the realisation that tests conducted more than once resulted in quite different results each time. But perhaps even more significant is the fact that the Morins and the Jessops used the same laundromat. This shared location could within itself have given explanation as to how the hairs and fibres used as evidence came to be found on both the defendant’s and the deceased’s belongings. The forensic analyst responsible for the case disagreed under oath, and repeatedly dismissed the situation as unlikely – though in October 1992, the same forensic department wrote a letter in response to a Toronto lawyer stating that they refused to examine penitentiary clothing due to the common use of laundry equipment. More inadequacies were uncovered a short time later when it became evident that few notes had been taken regarding certain aspects of evidence, of those recorded, most were lost, and both the hair and fibre evidence had become significantly contaminated very early on in the investigation under the care of Nyznyk who suppressed this information entirely, even during her court testimony. As impossible as it may seem, the hair and fibre evidence was later lost completely, thereby preventing any re-examination".

The remaining evidence, including the supposed statements made by Morin as to his guilt (which were not recorded due technicalities during the interrogation) were purely hearsay. Statements made by fellow prisoners were only obtained after considerable sentence reductions were offered to each, one of whom was known to police as a compulsive liar. In hindsight, every piece of evidence presented was purely circumstantial, and would have carried little if any weight.

On February 7, 1986, after 13 hours of jury deliberation, Morin was acquitted.

"By notice of appeal dated March 4, 1986, the Attorney General of Ontario launched an appeal to the Court of Appeal for Ontario against the acquittal" . There were two bases for the Crowns appeal: first, that the trial judge had misdirected the jury as to the use of ‘reasonable doubt’. Secondly, the use of the accused’s psychiatric condition was admissible only on the defence of insanity, and could not be used as evidence of guilt. After some deliberation as to the accused’s rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which states no person shall be tried twice for the same crime, it was decided that the retrial would not infringe or violate the fundamental principles of justice underlying the community’s sense of fair play and decency. On May 28, 1990, the second trial began, lasting a total of nine months, and ending in a unanimous decision that Morin was guilty of murder.

In August 1992, Morin launched his own appeal, based on 181 grounds, to the Court of Appeal for Ontario. It was his intention to question both the reliability of the evidence brought forward during the first and second trial, as well as the significance of the hair and fibre evidence which had been adduced by the Crown on the basis of a 1986 research paper by Roger Cook and Graham Jackson - entitled "The significance of fibres found on car seats". Morin by this stage had obtained an affidavit, signed by Roger Cook, stating that the prosecution had misused his study.

Throughout the many years of the investigation, DNA technology (which was used for the first time within a Canadian court during a sexual assault trial late in 1989) was unable to deduce whom the blood and semen stains found on Christine’s clothes belonged too, due to it’s decomposition after extensive exposure to the environment. It was also uncovered that the serology unit located within the Centre of Forensic Sciences had allowed samples to deteriorate considerably, and were resorting to outdated methods of testing samples that most other forensic labs avoided, simply because the Canadian forensic department were not as well educated. These outdated testing techniques were also responsible for further consuming and destroying the remaining evidence. "In October 1994, the Chief Justice of Ontario ordered three scientists…. to examine jointly all of the available semen samples" and report if DNA science (which had been greatly developed since the initial investigation) would lead to any conclusive results. Other forensic specialists made strong objection to this approach on the grounds that there existed a possibility that the semen stains may have been excreted by more than just one individual, which in turn would cause a genomic DNA pool with absolutely no forensic value. In the light of newly acquired confession from Christine’s bother, admitting to having sexual relations with his sister, this objection remained extremely viable. There were also fears that the semen might have been contaminated by a vial of Morins blood that broke whilst in a cardboard box that housed a large portion of the evidence. Never the less, the tests continued, and on January 20, 1995, a report released to the Chief Justice stated that the sperm sample could not possibly have originated from Paul Morin. On January 23, 1995, Morin’s conviction was set aside, based purely on the new DNA evidence.

The Morin case was plagued from beginning to end by inadequacies. Considering all the technological advances society has managed to develop within the last 20 years, this should never have been possible. But to make such a statement would only show our own shortsightedness in understanding the forensic process, which within itself, though technically at the forefront of any accuracy concept, is cursed by the ‘human’ factor. Consider the cases of David Milgaard, Donald Marshall, Richard Norris, Wilson Nepoose, and Donzel Young, each of who were convicted of crimes that they had not committed, based on ‘human’ error. The reality is that we will never eradicate errors and wrongful convictions because our systems of trial are made up primarily of humans - and humans invariably make mistakes. Consider the cigarette butt found near the deceased’s body, and later lost due to ‘human’ error – it is quiet possibly that it held the identity of the true killer. The suspect profile developed by John Douglas – a questionable technique based on presumptions rather than fact; the reason many countries refuse to utilise it. The lack of detailed recording during the first autopsy - quiet possibly due to a lack of educational requirements or foresight. Consider the contamination, loss, and inaccurate interpretation of evidence, not to mention a huge pile of other faults and mistakes that took place that were too numerous to mention within this report.

By looking at all the problems surrounding this particular case, it is reasonable to presume that the Canadian legislative structure, though typically similar to those found in Australia, England, and America, is faulty in comparison. It is one thing to keep up with world standards in areas of evidence techniques, but quiet another to make sure that those techniques are adequately facilitated. It seems that Canada has not quite yet developed an understanding of this concept, or at least has not applied it effectively in this particular case. The practices displayed by the Canadian Centre of Forensic Sciences during the Morin case were completely inexcusable – in comparison, ‘witch hunts’ tactics may have proven more rewarding. An independent investigation into this department’s practices would prove beneficial to all, particularly if it encourages the Canadian government to better asses and educate staff, who obviously need to hone their skills, procedures and understanding that forensics is about impartiality, not twisting facts solely to produce tunnel vision convictions. Though it should be noted, even strategic improvements such as these cannot, and will not remove all errors. The belief that any system of reform would ultimately create 100% accuracy could only be conceived by a delusional mind. But at least these errors will be greatly reduced, creating a system whereby the terms ‘fair’ and ‘reliable’, in cases of evidence and trials, will become the true norm. Come to think of it, any improvement in this situation would have been heaven sent.


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Written By Evan Sycamnias - 11-10-99




Lawyer sees similarities in Milgaard, Morin cases

Betty Ann Adam, The StarPhoenix, June 13, 2005

There are striking similarities in the way police handled the cases of two wrongfully convicted men, David Milgaard and Guy Paul Morin, says lawyer James Lockyer.

In both cases police -- desperate to solve horrible, high-profile crimes -- decided witnesses who had given evidence clearing suspects must be wrong, and in both cases police returned to the witnesses and, during long, unrecorded interviews, told the witnesses they were wrong, Lockyer has told the Milgaard inquiry.

Those crucial, undocumented interviews resulted in witnesses changing their earlier, exculpatory statements and saying things that helped convict Milgaard and Morin, Lockyer said last week at the inquiry, which continues today.

The inquiry is looking into the original investigation of Gail Miller's 1969 death, the prosecution of Milgaard and whether the case should have been reopened when police and justice officials received new information.

Morin, a 25-year-old furniture maker, was wrongfully convicted of rape and murder in the 1984 death of nine-year-old Christine Jessop near Queensville, Ont. In that case, two police officers decided that evidence given by Jessop's mother, Janet, and brother, Ken, must have been wrong, Justice Fred Kaufman found in his 1997 report on the commission of inquiry into that wrongful conviction.

The Jessops had originally said they arrived home at 4:10 p.m. on Oct. 3, 1984, to find that Christine was not there. Her body was found 56 kilometres away, almost three months later, on Dec. 31.

Suspicion turned to Morin, who lived next door with his parents, but police determined that Morin punched out of work at 3:32 p.m. and could not have arrived home any sooner than 4:14 p.m.

He and his parents said he stopped and bought groceries on the way home, so he would have arrived even later than 4:14.

Either way, the Jessops got home before he did.

According to Kaufman, when police returned to interview the Jessops on March 6, 1985, "the whole interview process was inappropriately calculated to persuade Ken and Janet Jessop that their earlier time were wrong and to modify those times."

During the 21/2 hour interview, "no formal statement was taken from them, nor did the officers preserve any detailed notes. (One of the investigating officers) admitted that they told the Jessops that their times were wrong," the judge said.

"After the interview, the officers recorded that it was found that the Jessops arrived home around 4:35 p.m. and that Janet Jessop said it was possible that her clock could have been slow," Kaufman wrote.

That change opened a window of opportunity for Morin to have abducted the girl and allowed him to be prosecuted. The conviction was overturned on appeal in 1995, when DNA evidence showed semen found on the victim's underclothes did not come from Morin.

At the 1997 inquiry, the Jessops told Kaufman they firmly believe their original 4:10 time.

Lockyer noted that in the Milgaard case, three months after Miller's death the only person suspected by police -- Milgaard -- had two witnesses saying he had been with them and so could not have committed the crime. The two were Nichol John and Ron Wilson.

'The smoking gun'

Police did have one piece of evidence that could be used in court: a statement from Albert Cadrain, who said he had seen blood on Milgaard's clothing.

Lockyer identified a meeting, held May 16, 1969, of three senior Saskatoon police officers where Lockyer says police decided John and Wilson were lying when they refused to implicate Milgaard.

Police decided John, Wilson and Cadrain would be brought to Saskatoon so the "true story" could be obtained, according to a five-page police briefing document.

Lockyer has referred to the document as "the smoking gun" because it shows the police theory, which included information John and Wilson later included in statements.

John and Wilson were brought to Saskatoon from their Regina homes between May 22 and 24, 1969, during which they gave new statements "that were in stark contrast to their original statements and which, to a considerable degree, matched the theory presented on the last page of the five-page briefing document," Lockyer said.

The Morin investigators decided the Jessops "must be wrong," just as Saskatoon police decided that John and Wilson must have been wrong.

In both cases the witnesses were re-interviewed "to get it right," and in both cases "there's a completely inadequate record of what happened," Lockyer said.
© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2005

Morin inquiry slams investigation

cbc newsworld 1998/04/09

After 10 months of testimony and 120 witnesses, an Ontario judge has released his report on how Guy Paul Morin came to be convicted of a crime he didn't commit. The reports says everyone involved made serious mistakes.

The final report says mistakes by forensic scientists, police and prosecutors all combined to send an innocent man to jail.

Kaufman made 119 recommendations in his report. He said there are problems with the system that have to be changed to prevent similar mistakes from happening again.

Kaufman said that judges should be far more critical of hair and fibre comparisons before allowing them to be admitted as evidence. He also said judges should tread carefully before allowing the testimony of jailhouse informants.

Kaufman said the mistakes in Morin's case were the result of poor judgement. He said he doesn't believe anyone purposely set out to put an innocent man in jail.

Morin was sent to prison for the 1985 murder of his nine-year-old neighbour, Christine Jessop. He was cleared by DNA evidence in 1995.

The crime is still unsolved.

Jessop investigation called off

Mar 12, 1998

A police task force set up to find the killer of Christine Jessop is calling off its review of the case.

Police have cleared more than 300 possible suspects. They won't re-open their investigation unless there's new information.

In October 1984 Jessop was stabbed and sexually assaulted.

Guy Paul Morin was wrongfully convicted of killing Jessop. His wrongful conviction sparked a lengthy inquiry into the miscarriage of justice.

The inquiry heard numerous allegations of how badly police bungled their investigation.

The special task force was set up three years ago after Morin's conviction was overturned when new DNA evidence exonerated him.

Commission on proceedings involving Guy Paul Morin

'Tunnel vision' in justice system put Morin in jail: report blasts police, scientists, prosecutors

John Ibbitson The Ottawa Citizen, Friday 10 April 1998

TORONTO -- The wrongful conviction of Guy Paul Morin for the killing of Christine Jessop was "not an aberration," but was rooted in a flawed justice system, commissioner Fred Kaufman concluded in a scathing report released yesterday.

In two volumes with 1,380 pages and 119 recommendations, the Report of the Commission on the Proceedings Involving Guy Paul Morin weaves a bleak tale. It tells how local police, Crown attorneys and forensic scientists convinced themselves of Mr. Morin's guilt, lost all objectivity, and then fell victim to what Mr. Kaufman called "tunnel vision in the most staggering proportions."

And the former Quebec Appeal Court judge concluded that the same "systemic problems" had undoubtedly led to the conviction of other innocent people.

For Mr. Morin, the end of the inquiry lays to rest an odyssey of accusation and vindication.

"In dealing with the system, I've always questioned why, why, why," he said after the release of the report. "Based on what's been given today, my questions have been answered."

To limit the chances of such a travesty happening again, Mr. Kaufman called for strict new limits on the use of forensic evidence and testimony of so-called jailhouse informants. He also called for extensive education and training for police, lawyers and scientists, and for the creation of a national DNA bank.

"Science helped convict him. Science helped exonerate him," Mr. Kaufman told a crowded room that contained Mr. Morin, his mother, and the mother and brother of Christine Jessop.

"We will never know if Guy Paul Morin would ever have been exonerated had DNA results not been available," Mr. Kaufman said. "One can expect that there are other innocent persons, swept up in the criminal process, for whom DNA results are not obtainable."

Mr. Morin was charged in 1985 with the murder of the nine-year-old Christine, who disappeared from her Queensville, Ont., home in 1984, and whose raped and battered body was found months later.

One jury acquitted Mr. Morin of the murder charge. But an appeal court ordered a new trial, and in 1992 he was found guilty.

He served a total of 14 months of incarceration before being released and finally declared innocent, after DNA evidence proved he could not have committed the crime.

While Mr. Morin welcomed the answers provided by the report, Tim Danson, the lawyer for the Jessop family, noted that "Christine is still dead and her murderer is still at large." For the Jessops, he added, "there is no closure until this case is solved."

A Toronto police task force into Christine's killing was abandoned last month for lack of leads.

Mr. Danson said he will be asking the Ontario government for financial compensation for her family.

The inquiry called by the Ontario government into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Morin's wrongful conviction conducted 146 days of public hearings, called 120 witnesses, and amassed 100,000 pages of court transcripts, depositions and other evidence.

Mr. Kaufman, who said the Ontario justice system is no worse and in some respects is better than other jurisdictions in Canada and the English-speaking world, targeted four key areas in which the system failed Mr. Morin and could fail others.

First, the Centre for Forensic Sciences in Toronto substantially contributed to the miscarriage of justice when scientists contaminated fibres from Christine's clothing and Mr. Morin's car. Mr. Kaufman also concluded that two scientists at the centre knew of the contamination but failed to disclose it. Further fibre evidence that might have helped exonerate Mr. Morin was not communicated to the prosecution or defence.

Second, the prosecution relied on two jailhouse informants who said they heard Mr. Morin confess, even though their testimony was "patently unreliable."

Third, police mishandled numerous aspects of the investigation, including the collecting of physical evidence and the interviewing of family members and Mr. Morin. They failed to dust for fingerprints at the Jessop residence and conducted interviews that led witnesses inadvertently or deliberately to alter their testimony to incriminate Mr. Morin.

Fourth, Crown prosecutors failed to question the evidence gathered by police. "Their relationship with the police at times blinded them to the very serious reliability problems with their own officers," Mr. Kaufman maintained.

In his recommendations, he urged that forensic fibre evidence be treated more skeptically in trials and that forensic scientists employ more rigorous standards in testing and presenting evidence.

He also urged more provincial funding for the Centre for Forensic Sciences, as well as for police and Crown attorneys, to reduce backlogs and improve training.

Mr. Kaufman also urged the creation of a registry of police informers to keep track of what is being offered to them for their information, along with strict limits on the use of jail inmates as informers. He stopped short of the recommendation of James Lockyer, Mr. Morin's lawyer, that their use be banned.

Mr. Lockyer, however, said he was so pleased with the bulk of Mr. Kaufman's recommendations that "you tend to focus on the 99 per cent, and not on the one per cent."

Mr. Kaufman recommended that missing persons investigations be treated as potential serious crimes from the outset, and that police immediately begin to collect and protect evidence if circumstances warrant.

He also recommended extensive additional training in investigative skills for police and Crown attorneys, including "the identification and avoidance of tunnel vision," which he defined as "the single-minded and overly narrow focus on a particular investigative or prosecutorial theory."

And he urged:

limits on the use of "consciousness of guilt" evidence, in which the mere attitude of the suspect is used to implicate him or her;

that a person charged with an offence be allowed to sit with his or her lawyer rather than in a separate box, and be referred to by name, rather than as "the accused";

the increased use of videotaping when interviewing witnesses;

that increased importance be given to fresh evidence following a conviction that might have altered the verdict.

Attorney General Charles Harnick said the Ontario government will do whatever it takes to prevent another wrongful conviction such as Mr. Morin's.

"What happened to Guy Paul Morin was a tragedy," he told reporters. "We need to learn from this in order to prevent this from ever happening again."

The attorney general said he assured both Mr. Morin and the family of Christine Jessop during a meeting yesterday morning "that all necessary changes to the criminal justice system in Ontario will be made as quickly as possible."

"We want to implement these recommendations ... so these kinds of things don't happen again ... so families don't have to go through the tragedies of the Morin and the Jessop experience. It is a tragedy and it is unacceptable and it has ruined lives."

The report also contained several recommendations for the federal government that, if implemented, could significantly affect criminal trials.

Mr. Kaufman urged the federal government to consider limiting the ability of a trial judge to express an opinion on issues of credibility before a jury. It also recommended that the federal government consider restricting the right of the Crown to appeal an acquittal by a jury, unless there is "a reasonable degree of certainty that the verdict would likely have been different had the error of law not been committed."

And he threw his support behind legislation before Parliament that would establish a national DNA bank.

A spokesman for Justice Minister Anne McLellan said she was looking forward to reading Mr. Kaufman's report and will not comment until his recommendations are studied.

A Chronology of the Guy Paul Morin Case

Oct. 3, 1984: Christine Jessop disappears.

Dec. 31, 1984: Her battered body is found 50 kilometres from her Queensville, Ont., home.

April 22, 1985: Guy Paul Morin is charged with first-degree murder.

Feb. 7, 1986: Mr. Morin is acquitted.

June 5, 1987: Ontario Court of Appeal orders new trial.

Nov. 17, 1988: Supreme Court of Canada agrees with Ontario Appeal Court.

July 30, 1992: Mr. Morin is convicted of first-degree murder.

Jan. 23, 1995: Mr. Morin is acquitted by Ontario Court of Appeal.

Sept. 3, 1996: Public inquiry into wrongful conviction begins.

Jan. 24, 1997: Ontario government awards Mr. Morin and his parents $1.25 million in compensation.

Feb. 10, 1998: Final summations conclude in inquiry.