N.L. man awarded $2 million for wrongful conviction
A Newfoundland man wrongly convicted of killing his girlfriend has been awarded $2 million in compensation.
Randy Druken, of St. John's, was convicted for the 1993 murder of Brenda Young, largely based on the testimony of a jailhouse informant who later retracted his story.
Druken was in prison for more than six years before he was granted an appeal in 1999. The provincial government admitted for the first timeThursday that Druken was wrongfully convicted.
Druken said he's pleased with the$2 million in compensation, but said it is hard to put a dollar amount on the six years he spent in prison.
"You'll never be able to start over. I mean, what we'll have to go through, we wentthrough. There's no denying that," Druken said. "But to start to make a new life?Yes. I firmly believe that you can start over that way."
Provincial Justice Minister Tom Marshall said he hopes the compensation, along with recommendations from the Lamer inquiry, bring Druken closure.
Druken was part of a public inquiry that examined his wrongful murder conviction and the casesof two other men.
Former Supreme Court justice Antonio Lamer concluded Druken and Gregory Parsonswere the victims of overzealous prosecutors and police investigations plagued by "tunnel vision."
Lamer also found the criminal justice system failed Ronald Dalton, who waited eight years for a second trial that found him not guilty on charges of murdering his wife.
Druken said he plans to return to school, help young offenders stay on the straight and narrow and get on with his life.