A boy convicted of murder and sentenced to hang when he was just 14 deserves compensation after nearly 50 years of carrying the label of murderer.
Last week the members of the Ontario legislature decided that Steven Truscott should be compensated for his ordeal. He spent 10 years in jail, was paroled, lived under an assumed name in Guelph, and raised a family. Several years ago he announced his identity and began the process to clear his name.
That happened last August when the Ontario Court of Appeal declared that a miscarriage of justice had occurred and set aside his conviction, effectively acquitting him.
Guelph MPP Liz Sandals then offered a private member’s bill to the legislature. It stated, “That, in the opinion of this House, given the unique circumstances in the case of Steven Truscott, who was unanimously acquitted of murder by the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Province of Ontario should provide compensation to Mr. Truscott in recognition of the miscarriage of justice from which he has suffered for almost 50 years.”
Last week she received full support from the legislature, even though some questioned if the members should wait for a report the Attorney General is holding.
Retired Justice Sydney Robins was asked to offer advice on what kind of compensation Truscott should receive. Attorney General Chris Bentley has not yet made Robins’ report public.
“Steven’s young life was stolen from him,” Sandals told the legislature.
She also noted that there appears to be strong public support for Truscott to get compensation. She said in an interview on Monday there is “no clear process on how to deal with compensation in Canadian law.”
She said that is why the previous Attorney General asked Robins to make a report. But, Sandals added, there is no reason why elected representatives can’t offer advice in the case, too.