Thursday 22 June 2023

BREAKING NEWS from Innocence Canada Two Indigenous Men innocent after 49 Years


Justice Minister David Lametti Quashes the Wrongful Convictions for Murder of Two Indigenous Men 49 Years After Their Convictions


Imagine that you are a young Indigenous male in 1973, a member of the Pinaymootang First Nation, who has just moved to Winnipeg from the Fairford Indian Reserve 240 kilometres north-west of Winnipeg.  You speak some English, but Saulteaux/Ojibway is your first language.  You have no criminal record and are gainfully employed.  Then one day you are charged with the brutal murder of a man called Ting Fong Chan, killed by unknown assailants on the streets of Winnipeg as he walked home from work.  You were not there when he was killed and had no involvement in the homicide.  Nevertheless, the police arrest you and force you to sign a false confession.


This is what happened to Brian Anderson and Allan Woodhouse, two young Indigenous men.  They proclaimed their innocence, but no one believed them.  The nightmare continued and they went to trial for murder before an all-white male jury. The police officers, the lawyers and the judge were all white men.


They were convicted of murder in 1974 and sent to jail for life.  They kept proclaiming their innocence, but no one listened.  Decades later, they heard about Innocence Canada and asked for their help.  Innocence Canada adopted their case and took it to the Minister of Justice.  No one could give them back the years stolen from them, but they hoped that someone would finally recognize their innocence.


This nightmare scenario happened to Brian Anderson and Allan Woodhouse.  These two young men were the victims of systemic racism.  Today, they take a giant step on their road to vindication.  Minister David Lametti has recognized the injustice wreaked on them decades ago and exercised the greatest power he has under the Criminal Code. He has quashed their convictions for murder and directed a new trial for them both.


Their story is one of remarkable courage and perseverance.  They have never wavered in their quest to prove their innocence.


Jerome Kennedy, a Director of Innocence Canada, who has led the case for their vindication, said today:


“This is a great day for justice for Mr. Anderson and Mr. Woodhouse.  49 years has been an interminable wait for them but they never gave up.  I never doubted their innocence.  I want to thank the Minister and his working group on wrongful convictions for their great work on this case.”


James Lockyer, also a Director of Innocence Canada, who assisted Mr. Kennedy with the case, said today:


Innocence Canada is privileged to have been able to help these two men.  Their cases raise important systemic issues that need to be addressed in Manitoba and across Canada.  Innocence Canada looks forward to discussing with the Federal and Provincial Governments the next steps in righting the wrongs done by our criminal justice system to Indigenous peoples in the past, and preventing the same wrongs being done to Indigenous peoples in the future.”


No date has yet been set for Mr. Anderson and Mr. Woodhouse to appear before the presiding Justice of the Manitoba King’s Bench Court.  We will advise the media as soon as we know.

Below is the Justice Minister’s announcement regarding their case.



For further information, contact:  


Jerome Kennedy at 709-725-2966 or


James Lockyer at 416-518-7983 or