Nfld. & Labrador

Compensation doesn't buy back lost years: Dalton

Ronald Dalton says no sum will ever make up for the eight years he spent in prison waiting for an appeal.

'My children were orphaned' for a decade, St. John's man says

Ronald Dalton says no sum will evermakeupfor the eight years he spent in prison waiting for the appeal that would ultimately clear him in his wife's death.

The Newfoundland and Labrador government announced Friday it will pay $750,000 to Dalton for its part in the lengthy delays that Dalton endured in ultimately obtaining a new trial.

"I spent 8½ years in a maximum security prison. My children were orphaned for 10 years when I wasn't around," Dalton said.

"We've been in this ordeal for 19½ years. I've lost a lot of good years."

Dalton, a former Gander bank manager, was convicted of murdering his wife, Brenda Dalton, although the jury in the second trial sided with forensic evidence that showed Brenda Dalton had not been choked, but had accidentally choked on cereal.

Dalton, who was acquitted in 2000, was one of three cases studied by retired Supreme Court of Canada justice Antonio Lamer at an inquiry that exposed numerous and serious problems in Newfoundland and Labrador's criminal justice system.

Lamer, whose report was released in 2006, found Dalton was failed by defence lawyers who did little to advance his appeal.

Dalton, who is planning lawsuits against his defence lawyers, was pleased that the provincial government followed through on the apology it made to him last year.

"We don't have to worry about the next court appearance and still…rehash this old stuff. We don't have to go on and convince somebody that we were wronged," said Dalton, who now lives in St. John's.

"Finally, somebody's cut a cheque."

The Newfoundland and Labrador government has already compensated Gregory Parsons and Randy Druken, who have both also been declared wrongfully convicted of murder.

Lamer criticized prosecutors in the Parsons and Druken cases of "tunnel vision" and overzealous practices.