$13.1M wrongful conviction payout should slight past victims
If we strip away Canada’s debate coverage, the biggest news story to end this week may be that of Rejean Hinse, the Quebec man who spent five years in a federal penitentiary for a crime he didn’t commit.
Hinse, now 73, was wrongfully imprisoned in 1961 for his alleged role in an armed robbery, and his fifty-year fight to clear his name may have finally come to a close.
As announced this week, the retired pipefitter will receive a staggering $13.1 million in compensation ($4.5 million from the Quebec government; $8.6 million from the feds) for his trials and tribulations. The amount is “unprecedented,” according to The Star.
Now, the purpose of this post is not to question Hinse. Let’s get that right out in the open. His story is tragic, and he deserves any and everything our government is willing to pay for his nightmares.
But there’s sure to be a good faction of Canadians – as there was during another high-profile wrongful conviction payout case – upset about that $13.1 million figure. It’s unfortunate. It’s true.
Hinse’s case is pretty straightforward, if lengthy: in 1961, a general store owner and his wife were assaulted and robbed by five crooks, who made off with about $4,000. Hinse was incorrectly charged and jailed in the case, which landed him behind bars for much of the next three years before he was sentenced to 15 years in a federal penitentiary in 1964. He spent the next five years there – a place he likened to “hell on earth,” The Star says – until his parole in 1969. It wasn’t until 1997 that his name was fully cleared by the Supreme Court of Canada, and on Thursday it was announced he would receive $13.1 million for his five-decade saga.
If anything, Hinse’s payout isn’t unjust itself, it merely highlights how poorly other wrongfully convicted Canadians have been compensated in the past.
Saskatchewan’s David Milgaard and Ontario’s Steven Truscott both spent time in prison for supposedly raping and killing women, allegations that carry a stain much deeper than armed robbery. Milgaard, who spent 27 years in prison, received $10 million in 1999, and Truscott, who spent 10 years in prison, received $6.5 million in 2006.
So it goes, then, that this may be the angle to the Hinse compensation story no one’s discussing. If Hinse is just in receiving $13.1 million for his pain, then how does spending ten years in prison, having your friends and family think you raped and killed a 12-year-old girl, and having to live thirty of your adult years under an assumed name and anonymity – as Truscott has faced since his conviction, which originally sentenced him to hang – not deserve more?
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money
*Follow Jason on Twitter here.
Posted by: Chip | Apr 15, 2021 6:28:46 AM
13.1 Million for what amounts to 8 years wrongful imprisonement. WOW !!! Didn't know that pipefitting jobs were now paying over 1.5 Million $$$ per year. If he was originally convicted in Quebec's courts... then THAT province's compensation of 4.5 M should have been adequate. What's up with the rest of the country's taxpayers being on the hook for the additional 8.6 M ?
Legal system stupidity at it's best. Meanwhile, real criminals, murderers, rapists, drug dealers, get off with slaps on the wrist or get free room and board at Club Fed for about $100K per year... AND they also want to become unionized for any work they perform in prison for their cigarette money. Bring back Capital Punishment !!
Posted by: Randy kubbernus | Apr 15, 2021 10:01:42 AM
Wrongfully convicted thats why you do not want capital punishment duh.Is any amount enough compensation I think not.
Posted by: Bill | Apr 15, 2021 10:39:48 AM
So lets see....$13.1 million for 8 years...hmmmmm.......
I'll take 1 (yr) for $1.6375 million Alex!
Posted by: Trixie | Apr 15, 2021 11:09:13 AM
Yes, in today's day you DO want capital punishment, and here's why. This is not the 1960's anymore. Now we have DNA evidence and actually better quality of evidence all around. People should read up on this in their spare time before forming an opinion against capital punishment. I tell you, I don't want to keep Col. Russell Williams in jail. I"d rather he was hung, or something of the like. That's my tax dollars wasted, in my opinion. However, I really feel for those like Steven Truscott. He was convicted at a time in history when the legal system depended alot on "he said, she said." That was very wrong in my opinion. I read about that story. Lastly, no amount of money can repay an innocent life that is taken away. However, for the very few cases that the gov't needs to pay out, 13 million is fine.
Posted by: Randy | Apr 15, 2021 11:14:42 AM
So Bill-will you really take $1.6 million/1 yr to face extreme violence,forced sodomy,blow jobs and moment by moment fear for your life-A vedry true fac t of federal/provincial life-been there ,done that-Could you even survive/ as they say "Be careful what you wish for"
Posted by: Allan | Apr 15, 2021 11:42:41 AM
Hay randy sounds you watch fair amount of TV, there are no guards in prison? The extreme violence, force sodomy, blow jobs and other stuff you talked about , really the gaurds just watch on monitors? when a limited amount of people per cell? not allound to be in someone else house, i was wrongly accussed and found guilty in this erra and latter found not guilty, suffered a miscarrage of justice. bye the way there are different classifications like PC if your worried about that, now if you are a child ped you you need PC because even other inmates hate them and gaurds will turn there back.
Posted by: Trixie | Apr 15, 2021 2:44:05 PM
Allan, I'm one ahead of you, in a matter of speaking. Personally, I'm close to two people who have both gone to jail for a short period of time, and in the end were found innocent and of course, got to walk away of their own accord. However, in both scenarios, they kept bad company and were in the wrong place at the wrong time. And yes, it does take time to be proven innocent when all the "heresay" is directed against you. The lesson there is, be careful of what you do and who you are in company with. However, about capital punishment, in my opinion, that is reserved for someone who has murdured and their DNA proves that they have murdured. Any other crime, you serve the time.
Posted by: Mark Podolak | Apr 15, 2021 3:11:18 PM
I don't object to him receiving a lot of money since he really was innocent and the police totally fouled up the investigation. By contrast I object strongly to the payout to Mahar Arar who may or may not have been tortured, but was not tortured by Canadian authorities and was not sent to syria by Canadian authorities. There is a difference.
Posted by: Chip | Apr 15, 2021 4:07:42 PM
What ever happend to the Victims Compensation program ? Was this man not also "just" a victim. He spent 5 years in jail ('til 1969) and 10 years probation ('til 1979)... it's not like he spent 50 years in jail. He was acquitted by the Supreme Court in 1997, but that wasn't enough... he (or his family or lawyers) decided to stretch it out another 14 years in order to obtain an apology and some cash... which the law firm will get a nice 35% cut since they had 5 lawyers working 3 years just gathering evidence. Lawyers don't work for free do they ? Why should Mr. Hinse get this outrageous 13.1 M TWO short years after Steven Truscott (2009) only got 6.5 M, after actually spending 10 years in jail and being on parole for 5. How much compensation will the families of all the recently murdered children in BC ever get ? Even with the killers confessing, they won't even see justice for their murdered children. Dead children, raped women, people who are killed or paralyzed by drunken drivers and their families get virtually nothing compared to this lottery windfall. Compensate Mr. Hinse with enough to live comfortably on... don't compendsate his lawyers or his children and grandchildren who are probably relieved that this is over but who are also prob ably going Kaching !! American Multi Million $$$ justice is alive in Canada. Line up at the courthbouse and file your motions and claims. The Supreme Bank of Canada is open for business.
Posted by: Chip | Apr 15, 2021 4:27:49 PM
“Psychologically, I was affected and the judgment represents an enormous relief,” Hinse said. No kidding Sherlock !!! “Not only did the legal mistake affect Hinse but, worse still, institutional indifference led to him losing his quality of life,” "Hinse is a shattered man ... shot down and destroyed; his mind is scattered” the judge wrote. Good grief... he spent 5 years in jail and 10 years probation. What about the couple who were robbed and beaten... how much did they get ? Was their quality of life or psychological suffering not also affected ? David Milgaard: Convicted in 1969 at age 16 spent 23 years in prison. Conviction overturned by Supreme Court in 1992. Milgaard awarded $10 million. Courts Gone Wild !!!!
Posted by: Chip | Apr 15, 2021 4:44:19 PM
Utterly ridiculous and obscene compensation. David Milgaard spent 23 years in jail and only got 10M. Steven Truscott spent 10 years in jail and only got 6.5 M. Mr. Hinse spends 5 years and gets 13.1 M. What's next, spend 3 years in jail and get 25M ??? The Supreme Court (aka Bank) of Canada and it's clueless tree-hugging, bleeding heart judges is open for business. Gawd... no wonder western democratic society is facing unprecendented economic failure... when their supposed "educated" and "intelligent" jurors come up with comp packages like these. Lock n' Load !!Kaching !!
Posted by: Chip | Apr 15, 2021 4:48:45 PM
What about all the aboriginal children who spent xxx years in Residential School "jails", taken from their families, sleeping in worse conditions, sometimes starving... and unlike Mr. Hinse... were also beaten and raped (some were also killed)... did each of them get 13.1 M ?? NO !!! They got "maybe" a maximum of 50K each... plus the privilege of proving their case to a federal institution "Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada" which spent 5 X as much $$$ "administering" the program than the amount of money actually compensated... and this will still go on for an additonal 3 years (2014) or more. Taxpayers $$$ wasted... INDEED !!
Posted by: Bob | Apr 15, 2021 7:53:05 PM
I'll go away for 5 years and I only want 1 mil per year.
We'll go broke repairing everyone.
Posted by: nottobrite | Apr 15, 2021 8:36:56 PM
No wonder the jails are full. I was wondering if there is still a chance of getting in , i had no idea they payed so good? I guess i am not to brite.
Posted by: Mr. Bill | Apr 15, 2021 9:37:21 PM
Talk is cheap. If this had happened to me (or you) there wouldn't be enough money in Canada to compensate. When are these dick-heads going to get it right. Why didn't they spend the 13 million to get it right in the first place.
Posted by: Steven | Apr 16, 2021 4:37:49 PM
Perhaps if we spent more on creating a better society, mental healthcare system and upbringing for children we wouldn't have to waste so much on jails. The US is league topping for percent of the population in jails but that oddly enough doesn't make it feel any safer to walk through Detroit or Atlanta. We should keep the jails though, so that any politician or business leader who has either given or taken a bribe will have a place to spend their retirement in.
Posted by: Jan | Apr 16, 2021 6:19:21 PM
@Trixie.. are you that stupid to believe that the new technology means better quality evidence. I don't need to "read up" on DNA evidence" as this is my field of expertise. The problem is that no matter how advanced the technology, "PEOPLE" still make mistakes. Some bad investigators will always manipulate evidence to fit their agenda. So I am, and will always will be completely opposed to capital punishment. As far as the compensation for all those wrongfully convicted, any of their settlements were far, far too low. Furthermore, I'd go after the prosecutors, judge, jurors, and investigators for all they had, and destroy their lives.
Posted by: John | Apr 16, 2021 7:49:59 PM
The payouts are too low, especially for Milgaard. I hope the prosecutors, police, investigators, and jurors suffer in guilt for the rest of their lives. I hope they all die miserable deaths. They should all be put behind bars for life for their utter stupidity. Yes I said it, even the jurors are also responsible for their stupidity and should pay with all they have. Scumbags they all are.
Posted by: Jack | Apr 16, 2021 8:09:55 PM
Mr. Bill, I couldn't agree with you more in the ideal world. However, I think prosecutors and investigators will try to distort evidence to pin the crime on those who cannot afford to defend themselves. I don't care what the "official" word is, you are ALWAYS guilty until proven innocent, unless you are wealthy.
Posted by: Jalalkhan | Apr 17, 2021 3:46:27 PM
It is great for Mr. Hinse to receive the compensation but do not forget that all these monies come from the Canadian tax payers and therefore to teach a lesson to the Government we should ensure that these types of compensation should come out directly form the pay cheques of the Police and the Judicial Department and not from the rest of the Canadians who were not part of the problem so why should our money go to the victims?Please give me the scoop here.
It is high time that the Police force are trained to do a proper investigative work and not keep on repeating these erroneous mistakes which costs the tax payer huge sums of money.This money could have been used for education for the kids and and the health etc., or distributed amongst the most desperate elderly population in Canada who do not have means to support themselves with the little that they get in OAS and CPP etc.,I feel that we are being robbed and made to pay for mistakes we did not commit.