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Convicted killer’s lawyer wants advocacy group to take up case

Monday, December 11, 2006

  • Patricia Brooks
  • Chronicle Herald
  • Source: PBLO (decommissioned) >

A Newfoundland lawyer with the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted wants the group to take on the case of convicted killer Glen Eugene Assoun.

And he wants the federal justice minister to review the file.

"I believe fully that there's been a miscarriage of justice and that there's a very high likelihood that Glen Assoun is innocent of killing Brenda Way," Jerome Kennedy said in a telephone interview Friday.

The St. John's lawyer and association board member represented Mr. Assoun through unsuccessful appeals to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada and visited the Dorchester penitentiary inmate Friday to tell him he will formally recommend the group adopt his case.

"He feels great about it," Glen Assoun's brother, Kevin, said.

He described the group that helped exonerate David Milgaard, who spent 23 years in prison for the murder of a Saskatoon nurse's aide, as his brother's "only hope."

In 1999, a jury convicted Glen Assoun of second-degree murder in his ex-girlfriend's death.

Brenda Lee Anne Way was found dead behind an Albro Lake Road apartment building in Dartmouth on Nov. 12, 1995. The 28-year-old prostitute and mother of two had been stabbed and her throat slashed.

Win Wahrer, the association's director of client services, said Mr. Assoun contacted their offices a few years ago but did not meet the requirements for a review. They only take murder cases and only after all appeals have been exhausted.

At the time, Mr. Assoun couldn't get his case through the appeal stages because he was refused legal aid and couldn't afford a lawyer. He has since been able to get a legal aid certificate for Mr. Kennedy's services.

When the group receives the case summary that Mr. Kennedy is now preparing, it will go before the review board where about 15 lawyers will decide if it can proceed.

There are 55 cases now under review by the group, but only a handful are ever formally adopted, Ms. Wahrer said.

The group has to provide "indisputable evidence" to have a case reopened and, above all, "we have to believe you are factually innocent," she said.

David Way Sr. certainly doesn't believe Glen Assoun is innocent.

"No hesitation, none at all. He did it," the Dartmouth senior said.

Before her death, his daughter told him Glen "had threatened her two or three times with a gun" and that he "beat her up two or three times," Mr. Way said.

"He's been trying for this since he went in," he said. "If I have anything to do with it, he won't get out."

Crown witnesses testified to similar events and many, including a jailhouse informant, testified that Glen Assoun had confessed to the crime.

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