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David Milgaard gets $10 million compensation package

The Story


"Something historic has happened," says Joyce Milgaard, responding to the announcement that the Saskatchewan and federal governments are awarding $10 million to David Milgaard. The Milgaards have agreed to drop two lawsuits against the Saskatchewan government, but they've exacted a promise for a full public inquiry. David himself isn't at the press conference attended by the CBC, however -- he's gone camping.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: May 17, 1999
Guest(s): Joyce Milgaard, Peggy Miller, John Nilson, Hersh Walsh, Hirsh Walsh
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Reg Sherren
Duration: 2:35

Did You know?


• Saskatchewan contributed $6 million to the settlement, and Ottawa $4 million.

• Joyce Milgaard received a direct payment of $750,000 out of the $10 million. It was up to David Milgaard to decide how much of the remainder to share with other members of his family.

• In the two years between Milgaard's exoneration and the compensation award, he had already received interim payments totalling about $500,000, much of it going to his lawyers.

• David Milgaard's story has inspired numerous non-fiction books, a graphic novel by David Collier, a song ("Wheat Kings") by the Tragically Hip, a symphony by Diana McIntosh and a CTV made-for-television movie.

• In 1999, a Saskatchewan judge banned the rebroadcast of the Milgaard movie on CTV. The network had planned to air it in every province except Saskatchewan, where Larry Fisher's trial was underway.

• Fisher was convicted of the murder of Gail Miller in 1999 and sentenced to life in prison. His lawyer appealed to Saskatchewan's highest court in April 2003, claiming the conviction was unfair and focusing on the DNA evidence. He also said it was wrong for the judge to tell the jury not to consider Milgaard's 1970 conviction for the crime.

• On Sept. 30, 2003, Saskatchewan's justice minister, Eric Cline, called a public judicial inquiry into Milgaard's wrongful conviction. The day before, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal denied Fisher's request for a new trial. Fisher's lawyer immediately announced his plan to take the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.


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