Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

Court decision gives ex-Brandon lawyer 'another shot at justice'

Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley delivered a stern rebuke to former justice minister Rob Nicholson last week for ignoring facts and the rule of law in turning down a bid by former Brandon lawyer Deveryn Ross for a review of his 1995 fraud conviction.

Mosley also took the unprecedented step of tasking current Justice Minister Peter MacKay to re-examine Ross’ claims of innocence.

The federal Justice Department declined comment. Ottawa has 30 days to decide whether to file notice with the Federal Court of Appeal.

Mosley found Nicholson erroneously applied the law and dismissed the findings of his own investigator. He wrote the decision “lacks justification, transparency and intelligibility and does not fall within the range of possible, acceptable outcomes which are defensible in respect of the facts and the law.”

Mosley was not asked for an opinion on the facts of Ross’ case. However, he noted some of the evidence withheld from Ross at his original trial would not only have discredited the Crown’s two star witnesses, but also proved the witnesses were the ones who deceived Ross and not the other way around.

“This gives me another shot at justice,” Ross said. “And that’s all I’ve wanted.”

Ross was convicted in 1995 of two counts of fraud in connection with a failed restaurant investment in Brandon and spent five months in the Brandon Correctional Centre.

The crux of Ross’ case involves undisclosed documents from the Manitoba Securities Commission that showed the Crown’s two star witnesses — mutual-fund salesmen Sheldon Gray and William Knight — admitted responsibility for many of the misdeeds that formed the charges against Ross.

Ross applied to Ottawa in 2004 for a review of his case under Section 696 of the Criminal Code, which allows the attorney general to quash convictions if there is a “reasonable basis to conclude that a miscarriage of justice likely occurred.”

A federal investigator was assigned to the case right away, but it took until 2009 for a report to be completed. The report confirmed Ross had been denied several key pieces of evidence. Despite these findings, in 2010 Nicholson denied Ross’ application for a new trial arguing although there was non-disclosure, it would not have affected the verdict.

Ross then challenged Nicholson in Federal Court.

In his decision, Mosley found Nicholson stepped well outside the parameters of the law and legal precedent in rejecting Ross’s application.

Specifically, Mosley noted Nicholson erred when he focused on whether the new evidence would have changed the verdict, rather than the fairness of the trial.

Section 696 requires the minister to focus on the issue of fairness rather than innocence. In other words, to quash a conviction, the minister must only be satisfied the applicant was denied a fair trial. It specifically bars the minister from making a determination of guilt or innocence; those are findings only a court of law can deliver.

Phil Campbell, one of Ross’ lawyers, said this decision upholds some of the most important principles in the criminal justice system.

“This makes clear that the minister is bound by law,” Campbell said. “It is a reaffirmation of the rule of law.”

Assuming that at some point MacKay will re-examine Ross’s application, he will then have several options. He could find another reason to dismiss the application, although Mosley’s decision makes it abundantly clear Ross achieved the standard required under the Criminal Code for ministerial remedy.

If MacKay finds merit in Ross’ claims, he can send the new evidence to an appellate court for additional review or quash the conviction outright. If he takes the latter step, MacKay can either ask Manitoba to consider a new trial or direct that no trial be held.

Mosley’s decision did not set a deadline for MacKay to reassess Ross’ application.

» Winnipeg Free Press

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition April 17, 2014

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 1 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

What is the Brandon Sun's motto now? Old news is good news? Wasn't this article in the WFP ten days ago? I assumed that this paper was interested in Deveryn's case because you did have the opinion poll for people to vote on whether Deveryn deserved another shot at justice. Let's have the news as it occurs please and thank you!

Arlene Saito

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley delivered a stern rebuke to former justice minister Rob Nicholson last week for ignoring facts and the rule of law in turning down a bid by former Brandon lawyer Deveryn Ross for a review of his 1995 fraud conviction.

Mosley also took the unprecedented step of tasking current Justice Minister Peter MacKay to re-examine Ross’ claims of innocence.

Please subscribe to view full article.

Already subscribed? Login to view full article.

Not yet a subscriber? Click here to sign up

Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley delivered a stern rebuke to former justice minister Rob Nicholson last week for ignoring facts and the rule of law in turning down a bid by former Brandon lawyer Deveryn Ross for a review of his 1995 fraud conviction.

Mosley also took the unprecedented step of tasking current Justice Minister Peter MacKay to re-examine Ross’ claims of innocence.

Subscription required to view full article.

A subscription to the Brandon Sun Newspaper is required to view this article. Please update your user information if you are already a newspaper subscriber.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Election 2014
Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media