Nfld. & Labrador

'I am an innocent man,' Druken tells Lamer

Randy Druken – who served more than six years in prison for the murder of his girlfriend Brenda Young – told the Lamer Inquiry his life has been an "absolute nightmare" because of how the criminal justice system handled his case.

Randy Druken – who served more than six years in prison for the murder of his girlfriend Brenda Young – told the Lamer Inquiry his life has been an "absolute nightmare" because of how the criminal justice system handled his case.

Druken was convicted for Young's murder, although there was no direct evidence connecting him to the crime.

An informant – who told the trial Druken confessed to committing the murder while the two were in prison – admitted years later he made the story up.

Then, DNA evidence put his now-deceased brother Paul Druken at the scene of the crime, not Druken himself.

From Dec. 13: DNA puts Druken's brother at crime scene

The Crown decided to file a stay of proceedings, meaning it had up to one year to pursue a murder charge against Druken again. The stay expired.

Druken told the inquiry Thursday he is still angry that his name was not cleared completely.

'A source of shame'

"I am always concerned that when people look at me that they are feeling that I was somehow involved in the death of Brenda Young," Druken said, while reading from a 16-page prepared statement.

"The fact that I have never been declared innocent is a source of shame for me, as I am an innocent man."

Druken told the inquiry some members of his family thought his brother Derek Druken – a career criminal who was shot dead in 1996 in the parking lot of a pharmacy in downtown St. John's – was involved in Brenda Young's death.

"Some of my family lived in fear as Derek had indicated that Paul was somehow involved in Brenda's murder," Druken said.

"And there was a sense that Derek was trying to shift the blame. And this whole process tore my family apart."

The Lamer Inquiry was told in November that Derek Druken was an informant to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

From Nov. 19: Druken's brother an informant: RNC officer

The inquiry was later told about Paul Druken's DNA being found at the scene of the crime, a fact never disclosed before in the public record.

Jody Druken – a fourth brother – is facing a manslaughter charge in Derek Druken's death.

Paul Druken died in 1999 in a suspected overdose.

Druken's testimony concluded this phase of the Lamer Inquiry.

Commissioner Antonio Lamer, a retired Supreme Court of Canada justice, will resume hearings in May, with a focus on whether there are systemic problems in the criminal justice system.

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