Glen Assoun's 1999 murder conviction under review
Federal government lawyer says 'miscarriage of justice' may have occured
The federal Justice Department is reviewing the conviction of a Nova Scotia man imprisoned for killing his ex-girlfriend, CBC has learned, after a report into the case found "there may be a reasonable basis to conclude" there was a miscarriage of justice.
Glen Eugene Assoun was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of Brenda LeAnne Way on Sept. 17, 1999. He received an automatic life sentence and must serve 18½ years before he can apply for parole.
Way’s body was found behind an apartment building in Dartmouth, N.S., in November 1995. She had been stabbed several times and her throat was slashed.
Assoun has always maintained his innocence through a series of appeals.
His latest attempt was to ask the Justice Department's Criminal Conviction Review Group to reassess his case under Section 696.1 of the Criminal Code, alleging a miscarriage of justice.
A preliminary review was completed in August. The author of that review, Justice lawyer Mark Green, wrote: "The report is comprised of a detailed review of the case and my preliminary findings that there may be a reasonable basis to conclude that a miscarriage of justice likely occurred."
Assoun's case now moves to the investigative phase of the review process. The Justice Department is trying to have Green's preliminary report sealed.
"The preliminary assessment and supporting appendices contain a large amount of personal and sensitive information regarding witnesses and potential witnesses relevant to the applicant’s case," Green writes in an affidavit.
The government's publication ban application will be heard later this month.
In the meantime, Assoun is applying for an interim release from prison. The Criminal Conviction Review Group is taking no position on his request.
It was more than two years after Way's death before police charged Assoun with murder. He was picked up on a Canada-wide warrant in Chilliwack, B.C., where he was living.
Dartmouth lawyer Don Murray represented Assoun during his preliminary inquiry and the early stages of his trial. But Assoun fired Murray and represented himself during the jury trial.