Phillion sues for wrongful conviction 0
Romeo Phillion throws up his hands outside the Provincial Courthouse in Ottawa Thursday, April 29, 2010. (QMI Agency/Darren Brown)
Romeo Phillion, who spent more than 31 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of the murder of firefighter Leopold Roy, is suing the province, Ottawa police and two detectives for $14 million.
Phillion, 73, was convicted of murdering Roy on Nov. 7, 1972, and sentenced to life in prison. On March 5, 2009, the Ontario Court of Appeal quashed his conviction and ordered a new trial.
On April 29, 2010, the Crown withdrew the charge.
Roy was stabbed in the heart by a suspected prowler in Aug. 9, 1967, in the stairwell of the Ottawa apartment building where he worked. Police questioned Phillion, who subsequently confirmed he was in the Trenton, Ont., area (about 288 km southwest of Ottawa) at the time of Roy's death.
Police reports were prepared confirming Phillion wasn't in Ottawa at the time.
But four years later, Phillion was arrested on Jan. 11, 1972, on an unrelated charge and he falsely confessed to killing Roy. Later that day, he retracted his confession.
"Mr. Phillion couldn't have been in Ottawa at the time," lawyer David Robins said Thursday.
"The investigating officers confirmed that in a report that was never disclosed to Mr. Phillion."
According to the statement of claim, the police "orchestrated" witness statements in an "effort to support Phillion's confession and advance their case against him," despite knowing he was innocent.
In his lawsuit, Phillion alleges that his charge, prosecution, wrongful conviction and imprisonment for murder were the result of the malicious, reckless and negligent conduct of the defendants.
The statement of claim alleges the defendants "failed to make full, frank and complete disclosure of all relevant evidence and information" to Phillion including "evidence that established that Phillion was at or near Trenton at the time Roy was murdered in Ottawa."