A five judge panel of the Ontario Court of Appeal set aside the ancient conviction of Stephen Truscott today and entered an acquittal. This should (unless the Crown is misguided enough to appeal) bring an end to one of the longest lasting legal dramas in Canada's legal history. It also demonstrates the now obvious wisdom of the Diefenbaker government's decision not to hang Mr. Truscott (then a 15 year boy).
While I will comment on this decision later in greater detail I do want to take the Globe on a comment that it made in today's paper (August 28, 2007), namely that the Court of Appeal would not declare Mr. Truscott 'innocent'. The fact of the matter is that Mr. Truscott needs no court to declare him innocent. Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides that every person charged with a crime as the right "to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal." Mr. Truscott is now an innocent man -- our Charter says so and no-one has the right to say otherwise.