An Ontario man who says he pleaded guilty on the advice of his lawyer to a 1987 crime that Paul Bernardo later confessed to is suing Toronto police, the Ontario Attorney General and his former lawyer.
Anthony Hanemaayer, now a 42-year-old resident of Harriston, Ont,, seeks $1.1 million in damages.
The case stems from a 1987 knife assault on a 15-year-old girl in her Scarborough bedroom. At the time of his trial in 1989, Hanemaayer pleaded guilty and was given a jail sentence of two years less a day. Including eight months of pre-trial custody, he spent 16 months behind bars.
Hanemaayer is suing Gerry Samulovitch, his former attorney, saying he was innocent and received poor advice from his lawyer about the prospects of being convicted after the victim's mother identified him, mistakenly, as the assailant.
Hanemaayer didn’t hear about the Bernardo confession until Toronto police questioned him about it again in 2006. However, he has said police didn't mention the confession of Bernardo, who is currently serving life in prison for the murders of schoolgirls Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French.
The Bernardo confession was ultimately brought to Hanemaayer’s attention in late 2007 by the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted, a legal rights organization.
In June 2008, in an Ontario Court of Appeals, Hanemaayer formally withdrew his guilty plea from 1989, and he was exonerated.
Earlier this year, the Ontario government said it wouldn't pay compensation to Hanemaayer over his imprisonment.
In his suit, Hanemaayer claimed police were negligent in that they rushed to judgment in the 1987 case by not considering other suspects, and by not informing him in 2006 that Bernardo had confessed to the assault.
Hanemaayer also named the Attorney General of Ontario in his suit, claiming that an assistant crown attorney failed to inform him of Bernardo's confession.
Hanemaayer's claims have yet to be proven in court.