New Forensic Evidence Leads SCC to Send
Leighton Hay’s Murder Conviction Back to Trial
Toronto, Canada – The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC) is pleased to announce that the Supreme Court of Canada has today ordered that Leighton Hay’s 2004 first degree murder conviction in Toronto must be quashed and sent back for a new trial. For 12 years Mr. Hay and AIDWYC have been fighting to clear his name and the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision is an important step towards establishing his innocence.
In the early morning of July 6, 2002, two men shot and killed Collin Moore in a Toronto nightclub. The men also shot at Collin’s brother, Roger Moore, who escaped with a graze to his forehead.
The Crown alleged that Mr. Hay was one of the two gunmen and the gunman who was supposed to be Mr. Hay was described by an eyewitness as having 2-inch dreadlocks. However, when arrested hours after the shooting, Mr. Hay had a very short haircut causing the prosecution to allege that he must have cut his hair after the shooting. The prosecutor produced hairs found by police wrapped in a newspaper from the bathroom in the home where he was arrested as proof of the haircut.
At Mr. Hay’s appeal in the Supreme Court of Canada on April 23, 2013, AIDWYC presented new evidence that undermined the Crown’s eyewitness identification evidence of Mr. Hay. The new evidence establishes that the hairs seized from the home by the police came from Mr. Hay’s beard and were not from a haircut.
Erroneous eyewitness identification is a well-known cause of wrongful convictions in Canada and in other countries. According to the U.S. Innocence Project, eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions in that country, playing a role in nearly 75% of convictions overturned as a result of their post-conviction DNA results.
James Lockyer, AIDWYC’s lead counsel who argued the case in the Supreme Court of Canada for Mr. Hay said today,
“It is a good day for Mr. Hay and a good day for justice in Canada. Mr. Hay is a vulnerable member of our society and is in many ways a ready victim for a wrongful conviction. AIDWYC adopted his case three years ago and we feel vindicated by this decision. We will be there for Mr. Hay at his new trial.”
AIDWYC is a non-profit organization dedicated to identifying, advocating for, and clearing the names of individuals convicted of crimes they did not commit and working to prevent future wrongful convictions through education. This year, AIDWYC is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. On November 23, 2013, an educational conference and celebratory gala will be held in Toronto. Both events are open to the public and everyone is encouraged to attend. Visit AIDWYC’s website to learn more and donate: www.aidwyc.org.
For more information, contact:
James Lockyer, 416-847-2560
Win Wahrer, 416-504-7500