One of the most controversial issues bing in the Criminal Justice System is the construct of unlawful strong beliefs. The job is that on occasion guiltless accused individuals are convicted of offenses that they have non committed ensuing in unjust prison sentences. Criminologists in Canada are researching the causes and effects of unlawful strong beliefs in an attempt to happen preventive steps to halt this distressing bug within the Canadian condemnable justness system. Research suggested that although unlawful strong beliefs were rare in the yesteryear. “more recent estimations of the frequence of such abortions range from really few instances each twelvemonth to 20 per centum of all convictions” ( Roberts & A ; Grossman. 2012. p. 253 ) . Unlawful strong beliefs occur when an person has been arrested on condemnable charges and is waiting for a supplication or finding of fact but is in fact inexperienced person ( Robert & A ; Grossman. 2012 ) . Survey of Canadian condemnable defense mechanism attorneies found “that 46. 3 % of this sample believe that they had represented a client who had been wrongly convicted and sentenced to at least one twelvemonth in prison” ( Ricciardelli. Bell & A ; Clow. 2009. p. 413 ) .

Reasons for Unlawful Convictions
Research suggests that unlawful strong beliefs are non the consequence of one person doing a error. instead “several person or systematic factors. entirely or in concert. contribute to unlawful convictions” ( Roberts & A ; Grossman. 2012. p. 253 ) . Factors that contribute to unlawful strong beliefs include oculus “witness mistake. erroneous forensic scientific discipline. false confessions. the usage of gaol sources. professional and institutional misconduct. and racial bias” ( Roberts & A ; Grossman. 2012. p. 253 ) . Other factors that lead to unlawful strong beliefs include uneffective defense mechanism advocate. constabulary tunnel vision. bearing false witness. and police misconduct. Last. research suggest that other factors such as racial bias. societal inequality. and category prejudice increase the likeliness that minorities and those who are socially and economically disadvantaged will be victims of unlawful strong beliefs ( Ricciardelli. Bell & A ; Clow. 2009 ) . Government functionaries argue that since the condemnable test procedure ever involves a battalion of human variables for all participants. it is hard sometimes to forestall a unlawful strong belief. Nonetheless. criminologists argue that “the designation of specific jobs and the execution of patterns designed to guarantee equity and answerability will ensue in the optimum use of scientific discipline and expertness in the hunt for justice” ( Jeffrey. 2006. p. 299 ) .

The Canadian Criminal Justice System
In Canada. the Criminal Code “gives the federal Minister of Justice the power to reexamine a strong belief under federal jurisprudence to find whether there may be hold been a abortion of justness. or what is frequently called a unlawful conviction” ( Scullion. 2004. p. 190 ) . If the Minister identifies that a abortion of justness has likely to hold occurred. he has the authorization to order a new test or mention the affair to the Court of Appeal. The Minister is non responsible for make up one’s minding whether a convicted individual is guilty or non. instead. that function is assigned to the Court of Appeal. One of the unfavorable judgments of the reappraisal procedure is that it places the burden on the applier to show that a abortion has occurred with the system. In add-on. the cost associated with make fulling an application to the curate is frequently out of range for most appliers ( Scullion. 2004 ) . Last. the condemnable strong belief reappraisal procedure lacks independency because “one authorities section is reexamining another authorities section. the reappraisal procedure contains an evident struggle of interest” ( Scullion. 2004. p. 194 ) . Critics of this system argue that the reappraisal procedure is both drawn-out and dearly-won for the accused.

The authorities awards money to individuals that were wrongfully accused as a agency to rectify the abortion of justness ( Roberts & A ; Grossman. 2012 ) . The accused in unlawful strong beliefs typically seek fiscal compensation for the harm they have suffered. In 1988. Canada adopted a set of federal and provincial guidelines for compensation and conditions for eligibility ( Roberts & A ; Grossman. 2012 ) . Criminologist argue that the authorities has to make more than merely supply compensation to persons who have been wrongfully accused. because money entirely does non rectify the emotional. societal and psychological amendss brought approximately by a unlawful strong belief. Attempts need to be made to assist persons who have been wrongfully convicted on many different degrees. including supplying free authorities plans that assist with emotional and psychological rehabilitation for these persons.

There are important negative effects associated with unlawful strong beliefs for the accused. Persons who are wrongfully convicted experiences losingss runing from autonomy. romantic relationships and security ( Roberts & A ; Grossman. 2012 ) . In footings of word. it is hard for many accused to bespeak for word particularly when the individual has non committed a offense. Research suggested that most accused are non given word for the first few times that they request for a reappraisal ( Tracey. 2006 ) . The other job is many attorneies are non traveling to perpetrate to a boring and time-consuming undertaking of turn outing abortion of justness with few chances of pecuniary wagess ( Tracey. 2006 ) .

News Narratives on Unlawful Convictions in Canada
In Canada. several instances of unlawful strong beliefs have occurred raising the inquiry of the effectivity of the condemnable justness system. The Vancouver Sun published an article by Hannah Hoag on July 2012 discoursing the impact of unlawful strong beliefs on the accused. specifically the instance of Rejean Hinse who was compensated $ 13. 2 million by the federal and Quebec authoritiess for unlawful imprisonment in the sixtiess ( Hoag. 2012 ) . Harmonizing to studies. a victim picked out Hinse out of a constabulary batting order. but the victim’s memory was distorted.

The article high spots that the figure one ground for unlawful strong beliefs are due to eyewitness misidentification histories. Harmonizing to psychologists. persons who experience traumatic events experience memories that are frequently times manipulated. Psychologists analyzing this phenomenon argue that memories formed during emotional or traumatic events are undependable even though people are confident in the truth of their remembrance ( Hoag. 2012 ) . Roberts and Grossman ( 2012 ) claimed that “the questionable eyewitness testimony and the undue weight it receives from condemnable justness forces make eyewitness designations a important subscriber to wrongful convictions” ( p. 254 ) . The article concludes by discoursing ways that the witness designation of suspects can be improved through best patterns such as demoing exposure batting orders to a informant consecutive. non as a group.

While many parties are negatively affected by unlawful strong beliefs. the accused typically suffers non merely loss of autonomy but besides violation on their rights. The Province published an article by Keith Fraser on July 10. 2012 discoursing the strong belief of Ivan William Henry who sued the B. C. authorities for non allowing him a tribunal entreaty for his strong beliefs affecting sex onslaughts against eight adult females ( Keith. 2012 ) . The attorney-general’s ministry wants to disregard the case of the convicted consecutive raper reasoning there was no carelessness or breach of his rights reasoning the “the actions of Crown advocate in the class of a condemnable prosecution are immune from civil liability” ( Keith. 2012. p. 1 ) . Henry argued that the unlawful strong belief resulted in his loss of autonomy. repute and privateness while in gaol. Henry steadfastly believed in his artlessness. registering more than 50 applications seeking to the strong beliefs overturned ( Keith. 2012 ) . Henry believes that the authorities owes him money for the amendss he has endured in prison. The article highlights the battle inexperienced person accused individuals go through when covering with a unlawful strong belief in seeking compensation and wagess for amendss through the authorities.

Although Canada is considered a democratic society that takes great pride on the equity of its condemnable justness system. there are still abortions of justnesss that have occurred in Canada which include drawn-out footings of imprisonment. Both single and systematic mistakes can take to unlawful strong beliefs of an single resulting in old ages of emotional. societal. psychological and fiscal harm. Education plans need to be implemented to assist attorneies and jurisprudence enforcement to derive consciousness of how unlawful strong beliefs can be prevented within the condemnable justness system. It is of import for instances of unlawful strong beliefs to be released and shared with the populace in an attempt to raise consciousness on how this phenomenon impacts the lives of the accused and what measures the condemnable justness system needs to take to rectify this job.


Hoag. H. ( 2012 ) . Vivid memories of the incorrect cat. The Vancouver Sun ( C. 1 ) . Jeffrey. R. M. ( 2006 ) . Unlawful strong beliefs. lessons learned: The Canadian experience. Journal of Clinical Forensic Medicine. 13 ( 6-8 ) . 296-299.

Keith. F. ( 2012. ) . B. c. wants rid of civil case. The Province ( A. 10 ) . Ricciardelli. R. . Bell. J. G. . & A ; Clow J. A. ( 2009 ) . Student attitudes toward unlawful strong belief. Canadian Journal of Criminology & A ; Criminal Justice. 51 ( 3 ) . 411-427. Roberts. J. V. . & A ; Grossman. M. G. ( 2012 ) . Condemnable justness in Canada: A reader ( 4th ed. ) . Toronto: Nelson Education.

Scullion. K. ( 2004 ) . Unlawful strong beliefs and the condemnable strong belief reappraisal procedure pursuant to subdivision 696. 1 of the condemnable codification of Canada. Canadian Journal of Criminology & A ; Criminal Justice. 46 ( 2 ) . 189-195.

Tracey. S. ( 2006 ) . Truscott instance awakened Canada to the possibility of unlawful strong belief. The Canadian Press.

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