Ottawa to appeal $8.6M wrongful conviction ruling

Ottawa is confirming it will appeal a Quebec court ruling ordering it to give $8.6 million to a Laval man who spent years in prison for armed robbery he didn't commit.

Quebecer Réjean Hinse awarded damages last month for doing time after wrongful conviction

Ottawa is confirming it will appeal a Quebec court ruling ordering it to give $8.6 million to a man who spent years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

Rejean Hinse speaks to reporters at a news conference in Montreal last April, outlining details of a $13.1 million compensation settlement from the federal and Quebec governments after being wrongly convicted and spending several years in prison. ((Graham Hughes/Canadian Press))
Réjean Hinse, who is in his early 70s, was imprisoned after a 1961 armed robbery in Mont-Laurier, Que., about 250 kilometres north of Montreal.

The owner of a general store was assaulted and his wife was tied up in an hour-long attack by five robbers who made off with about $4,000.

Hinse was identified by the victims in a police lineup.

He spent most of the next three years behind bars until he was sentenced to 15 years in 1964. He was paroled in 1969.

Once released, Hinse continued his fight to clear his name.

The Supreme Court of Canada concluded in 1997 that evidence presented at his trial wasn't sufficient to convict him of aggravated robbery.

A Quebec Superior Court ruling last month called on Ottawa to give Hinse $8.6 million while Quebec, which settled with him prior to the judgment, will pony up $4.5 million.

Hinse's lawyers, who worked pro bono on the case, said the settlement is believed to be the largest of its kind in Canada.

The federal government had already indicated last December it would appeal, no matter what amount Hinse received.

One of Hinse's lawyers said Monday the federal government's decision was disappointing but hardly surprising.