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Ivan Henry


A photograph in Ivan Henry’s appeal court file shows him in a police lineup in 1982 being restrained by three police officers, one of whom has him in a headlock, while other men in the lineup are ...
The judge who presided over the 1983 sex-crimes trial of Ivan Henry reopened by the Court of Appeal has fired back in his blog at critics who have questioned the fairness of the trial.
Retired B.C. Supreme Court justice John Bouck says he did everything possible to ensure Henry got a fair trial and he continues to believe justice was done in spite of last week's announcement that another man may be responsible for Henry's crimes.
The B.C. Court of Appeal last week reopened Henry's case because of evidence that he was not the man responsible for a series of sex crimes in the 1980s.
After a jury convicted Henry, Justice Bouck declared him a dangerous offender and ordered him imprisoned indefinitely.
Prosecutors have now declared a miscarriage of justice may have occurred and Justice Bouck felt he had to speak out.
"I am handicapped with respect to some of the particulars since I do not have a copy of the trial transcript or the investigators' report," he began on his Sunday posting on
"Before the 1983 trial commenced, Mr. Henry's lawyer advised me that Mr. Henry did not want his representation. He wanted to defend himself. In open court and in the absence of the jury Mr. Henry confirmed his position. I urged him not to proceed without legal advice. He insisted that he wanted to go ahead without a lawyer."
In its unprecedented ruling, the Court of Appeal cited the special prosecutor's concerns that Justice Bouck had failed to give Henry as much aid during the trial as he should have.
"I did my best to help him but with little success," Justice Bouck said in his posting.
"The gist of the prosecution's case was Mr. Henry's alleged modus operandi. All of the rapes occurred near his residence. The Crown alleged that around 2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. he jimmied open ground floor sliding glass doors where the single women complainants lived and sexually assaulted them. When the time came for his defence he did not call any witnesses and declined to take the witness stand in his own defence."
Justice Bouck said also that Henry put into evidence a picture of his police lineup that put him in a bad light even though he was told not to do so.
As well, the justice says in his Internet posting, that Henry was on parole for two earlier rapes he committed in Saskatchewan at the time he committed the 1983 offences.
Justice Bouck today asks why Henry's wife, who is now dead, didn't testify on his behalf at the trial. And he maintained that while he was serving time for the Saskatchewan offences, Henry learned how to install sliding glass doors.
"The Attorney-General criticized my handling of the case," Justice Bouck said. "I admit that Mr. Henry did not get a perfect trial or a perfect dangerous offender hearing. Nobody does.
"Trials are conducted and decided by imperfect human beings applying imperfect laws. The most the criminal justice system can offer is a fair trial. Mr. Henry got both a fair trial and a fair dangerous offender hearing."
Justice Bouck insists that if Henry did not receive a fair trial, it is his own fault.
"According to media reports, Mr. Henry asked for legal help in pursuing his appeals but never got it," Bouck said.
"If that is true, it is a condemnation of the Attorney-General's Legal Aid system which lawyers and judges constantly criticize. The Attorney-General's investigators did not bother to interview me before they condemned me publicly nor did they send me a copy of their report."

The B.C. man who was acquitted Wednesday for a string of rape charges in the early 1980s said he's not angry about spending nearly 27 years in prison for crimes he didn't commit.
"It wouldn't heal me if I was angry," Ivan Henry, now 63, told reporters outside of the B.C. Court of Appeal, flanked by his two adult daughters.
"I got grandkids that I'm so proud of and I got a little dog that I look after and he's my friend. It's just the way it is."
Henry also had a message for people who are incarcerated and trying to fight their wrongful convictions.
"Don't give up. Keep plugging ahead and work to get out and to learn what society's all about. It's not all a dirty world. We're all here to try and help each other."'
The appeal court justices were unanimous in quashing Henry's 10 convictions. Henry was the victim of a number of legal errors, a botched police investigation relying too heavily on eyewitness evidence, and his own lack of legal counsel, according to Justice Richard Low in his judgment.
"Each complainant was subjected to a terrifying experience at the hands of a dangerous man. However, the evidence of eyewitness identification was not capable of establishing to the standard required by law that the appellant was that man."
Low said that it was a mistake for police to hold Henry down in a lineup photo while others smiled for the camera – and another mistake for prosecutors to use Henry's struggles as an admission of guilt.
"This error would also irretrievably taint the verdicts," he said. "I would allow the appeal, quash the convictions and enter an acquittal on each count."
The ruling ends nearly three decades of turmoil for the Henry family, who lives in North Vancouver.
Adult daughters Kari Henry and Tanya Olivares, who were put into foster care after their father's incarceration, have steadfastly believed in his innocence.
"I'm just amazed," Kari Henry told reporters outside court. "I'm so happy, really, really happy. This is a huge weight off our shoulders."
Olivares said their family is ready to move on with their lives.
"Justice prevailed today and we're just going to move ahead," she said. "This has been a sentence for my dad but it's been a sentence for me and my sister -- my children. We just want to live a normal life."
She said her father returning home has been a huge adjustment for everyone in the family.
"He came home 16 months ago to a family who he didn't really know, and we didn't know him. He had to come into a busy family life. He has adjusted like nobody else could have. He is truly amazing. I am so proud of him."
Henry said leaving prison after so many years was difficult, and he was bothered by large crowds of people.
"It was really hard on me because I come from 1982 we didn't have the same amount of people … the world changed big-time."
The case
The saga began with a string of more than 20 sexual assaults over just 18 months in the early 1980s. In each assault, the perpetrator told his victims that they or someone who lived in the same house had "ripped him off" as a pretense to gain entry to the suites.
The Vancouver police investigators concluded the assaults were by the same man, and in the midst of a lot of public pressure to solve the case, arrested Henry in 100 Mile House in 1982.
Henry had to be held down by officers as he struggled in a police lineup photo. The victims were then shown the photo, and many identified him. Henry was the only person held down by police.
It's clear that Henry himself had a sense of the miscarriage of justice, for he argued on the stand that the photo shouldn't have been included.
"A lineup of that nature wouldn't have to be put to the jury because it would be – it would be against the law, because the jury couldn't decide if the guy is guilty or not guilty," he said during his testimony in 1983.
"I never refused anything to anybody," he said in his cross-examination. "All I said is…it's not a fair lineup."
He was convicted in 1983.
After his conviction Henry appealed in person in 1984, but the appeal was dismissed on procedural grounds. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case that year. Henry followed up with a string of other applications, but all were dismissed.
Thirteen years after that, Henry tried again -- but was told no court had jurisdiction to hear his case.
It was only during a police investigation of unsolved sexual assaults prompted by the Pickton investigation that the case was reopened. "Project Smallman" used DNA evidence to find a man only known as "D.M." , who pleaded guilty to three offenses and was sentenced to five years in prison.
But the similarities to Henry's case prompted prosecutors to appoint Leonard Doust to investigate a potential miscarriage of justice. On January 13, 2009, the court ordered Henry's appeal reopened because of "exceptional circumstances."
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jon Woodward

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