September 30, 2021
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William Mullins-Johnson's wrongful conviction.
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⟶ Updated 1 Dec 2017 ⟶
List of edits
27 Nov 2017
twenty-two-year-old Bill was babysitting his four-year-old niece, Valin.
feeling sick, Valin gave her uncle a goodnight kiss and a hug, and told Bill that she loved him
Bill checked on her
Valin’s dead body is found by her mom.
Valin’s remains were taken to the Sault Ste. Marie General Hospital
The autopsy concluded was that she had been strangled to death and sexualy abused when Bill was the only other person present.
Bill was arrested for the first degree murder and aggravated sexual assault of his niece.
Bill is interrogated by the police but maintain his innocence.
Bill was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years despite no physical evidence.
Most of the case against Bill was based on the testimony of a team of physicians – Dr. Bhubendra Rasaiah (who conducted Valin’s autopsy), Dr. Patricia Zehr, and Charles Smith .
Bill was transported to Joyceville Institution
He was sent to Warkworth Institution, a prison north of Toronto that houses sex offenders in protective custody.
Bill appealed his conviction to the Ontario Court of Appeal, but the court dismissed the appeal.
Bill then appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, but the court unanimously dismissed his appeal.
Bill then turned to AIDWYC for help, and the organization took his case
lawyer James Lockyer wrote to the Crown Law Office on AIDWYC’s behalf, asking that the samples taken from Valin’s body be made available so that forensic pathologist Dr. Bernard Knight could independently review them.
After Smith tried to hide the slides, they were finally located in his office and provided to Dr. Michael Pollanen, who has since become the Chief Forensic Pathologist for Ontario.
Dr. Pollanen concluded that there was actually no evidence whatsoever that Valin had been sexually abused or that she had been murdered. Although it was impossible to tell what had caused Valin’s death, there was zero evidence that she had died from anything but natural causes.
At last armed with new evidence that he was innocent, Bill and AIDWYC filed a s. 696.1 application for ministerial review of his conviction
After 11 years in jail, he was granted bail while the Minister considered his application.
the federal Minister of Justice granted Bill’s application and sent the case back to the Ontario Court of Appeal.
the Court quashed Bill’s conviction and acquitted him of the terrible “crime” that never occurred but had torn his life and family apart.
Chris Bentley, the Attorney General of Ontario at the time, announced that Bill would be awarded $4.25 million in compensation for his wrongful conviction. Mr. Bentley apologized to Bill and his family on behalf of the Ontario government “for the miscarriage of justice that occurred and the pain they had to endure.”
All family members but his mom cut contact with Bill.
AIDWYC wrote to Dr. Barry McLellan (then the Chief Coroner for Ontario) and Michael Bryant (then the Attorney General), urging a full public inquiry into Smith’s work.
Dr. McLellan announced in a press release that a formal review would be conducted into Smith’s work on 45 cases involving suspicious deaths of children
report found that Smith had no training in forensic pathology and was stripped of his medical license.
Bill before the whole thing.
Bill's AIDWYC lawyer
Bill after the compensation.
Bill and his friend after he was acquitted.
Bill and his mother going to court.
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