Three years to the day since Glen Assoun was freed from prison to live in British Columbia, he has been granted permission to move home to Nova Scotia.
Assoun, 62, whose murder conviction in the 1995 killing of his ex-girlfriend Brenda Way is under review, was in court today to change his bail conditions to allow him to move to Nova Scotia.
The Crown and two of Assoun's lawyers, who are with the Association in Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted, came to an agreement to allow him to move to Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice James Chipman granted permission.
"The main thing we wanted was to restore Glen to his family and people who love him, and I just told him that will be transformative for him," said Philip Campbell, one of Assoun's lawyers. "I think it'll be the best thing that's happened to him since the day he got out of jail."
Chipman also ordered the removal of an ankle bracelet for electronic tracking.
Assoun will be required to live with his daughter and her wife, who will act as sureties.
He's also under orders to stay away from five zones in Halifax where there may be witnesses in the murder case.
'Today is a good day'
Campbell said Assoun is feeling positive about the move.
"He said to us over lunch, 'Today is a good day.' That's pretty much all he said but I was very glad to hear because it was," said Campbell.
Sean MacDonald is also one of Assoun's lawyers who's been working on the case for over 10 years.
"Phil and I are both thrilled. It's a homecoming, so to speak."
He said there is no risk to public safety.
Conviction under review
In 1999, Assoun was convicted of second-degree murder in Way's death. He served more than 16 years in prison before he was granted bail in 2014.
Assoun has always maintained his innocence. Three years ago, a lawyer who was reviewing his conviction for the federal Justice Department's Criminal Conviction Review Group wrote there may have been a miscarriage of justice.
The review of the conviction is ongoing.
Way's sister, Carol Beals, believes Assoun is guilty.
"Stunned," she said when she learned of Assoun's move. "That's pretty shocking."
'On the road to recovery'
Chipman said he was "impressed" with Assoun's conduct over the last three years, noting that despite his feelings of isolation in B.C., and experiencing some mental health issues, he has followed his bail conditions.
He also called Assoun's daughter and her wife "stellar sureties."
He said Assoun's return to Nova Scotia would be in the best interest for him and the public.
"Your journey is not over," said Chipman. While there may be setbacks ahead, "I believe Mr. Assoun is on the road to recovery," said the justice.