Robert Baltovich

Robert Baltovich

 

Wrongful Convictions in Canada: Causes and Remedies

February 25, 2010

In June of 1990, Elizabeth Bain, the girlfriend of 24-year old Robert Baltovich, a recent University of Toronto graduate, was murdered in Toronto. Her body has never been found. Robert Baltovich was wrongly accused of her murder. Robert will discuss his tragic ordeal and what he believes led to his conviction for a murder he did not commit. In addition, he will share his thoughts about the Canadian criminal justice system, how and why wrongful convictions arise, and what can be done to prevent them.

Bio

In June of 1990, Elizabeth Bain, the girlfriend of 24-year old Robert Baltovich, a recent University of Toronto graduate, was murdered in Toronto. Her body has never been found. Robert Baltovich was wrongly accused of her murder. Robert will discuss his tragic ordeal and what he believes led to his conviction for a murder he did not commit. In addition, he will share his thoughts about the Canadian criminal justice system, how and why wrongful convictions arise, and what can be done to prevent them.

Despite no direct, forensic or eyewitness evidence Robert Baltovich was convicted of the murder of Elizabeth Bain and sentenced to life in prison on March 31st, 1992. Eight years later, lawyers representing Mr. Baltovich filed a defense brief at a bail hearing and argued that there was new evidence to suggest that Baltovich was innocent and that the real perpetrator was Paul Bernardo. The bail hearing was successful and, after spending eight years in prison, Baltovich was released on March 31st, 2000 pending the appeal of his conviction.

In September 2004, Baltovich’s appeal was heard and in December of 2004 the Ontario Court of Appeal unanimously quashed Robert Baltovich’s murder conviction and ordered a new trial. Jury selection proceeded and when the trial began in April of 2008 the Crown withdrew its case against him and asked the court to acquit him. On July 31st, 2008 a request was made to the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General to compensate Mr. Baltovich; he is currently awaiting a response.