This is the video of a lecture we hosted during Wrongful Conviction Week. The conviction of innocent people is a local, national and international human rights issue. Wrongful convictions are serious miscarriages of justice that call into question the integrity of our criminal justice systems.
Frank and open discussions about the causes of wrongful convictions can lead to positive change. Robsoncrim.com presented this conversation with Bruce MacFarlane and John Burchill on wrongful convictions and distorted decision making by prosecutors. The lecture lasts about 45 minutes - check it out below.
Bruce MacFarlane was called to the bar in the provinces of Manitoba (1974), Saskatchewan (1979), and Alberta (1987), and was appointed Queen's Counsel by the Government of Canada in 1987. He has appeared at trial and on appeal in four provinces and in the Supreme Court of Canada. MacFarlane started his career in Winnipeg with the Federal Department of Justice prosecuting a wide variety of cases with a focus on drug conspiracies and white collar crime. Subsequently, he was appointed Director of Legal Services for the RCMP in Ottawa (1982), Director of Justice Canada in Alberta (1986) and finally Assistant Deputy Attorney General for Canada (1989) where he was responsible for all federal prosecutions across Canada. In 1993, he returned to his home province of Manitoba as Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General from 1993 to 2005. He was also appointed as Special Counsel to the Attorney General on Organized Crime and is currently a member of the Manitoba (1974) and Alberta Bars (1987).
John Burchill was an instrumental figure in the investigation in the case of Thomas Sophonow. He is a Former Sergeant with the Winnipeg Police Service where he oversaw the investigation of hate crimes and policy development as part of his duties and graduated from the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law in 2010. He was called to the Manitoba Bar in 2011. He worked for the University of Manitoba in risk management. He has worked as Manager of Strategic Issues with WPS.