Saskatchewan

Popowich has name cleared after 10 years

John Popowich says it's time to get on with the rest of his life. The Saskatoon police sergeant's legal nightmare came to an end on Tuesday, with a letter from the provincial justice minister.

John Popowich says it's time to get on with the rest of his life. The Saskatoon police sergeant's legal nightmare came to an end on Tuesday, with a letter from the provincial justice minister.

After 10 years, the provincial government agreed that John Popowich is, and always has been, an innocent man.

Popowich was one of a dozen people who faced more than 100 charges in the Martensville child sex abuse case. However, the charges were stayed by the Crown after the children couldn't identify him.

The Judge said Popowich was innocent, but that wasn't good enough for prosecutors, who kept looking for evidence against him – even after a special RCMP investigation said he should not be charged.

Popowich filed a lawsuit accusing the Justice Department of malicious prosecution.

After eight years, the government has now agreed that John Popowich has always been innocent.

"I got a document from Mr. Chris Axworthy, minister of justice, saying I'm an innocent man," Popowich says.

"It is actually a beautiful piece of paper to sit and read it to digest it. I'm an innocent man and now the public knows I am an innocent man."

The settlement includes more than an apology – $1.3 million more, in fact.

Of that, $500,000 has to come from the individual prosecutors, investigators and police involved in the original case.

The two prosecutors and at least one of the police officers involved in the botched Martensville investigation are still officials within the Saskatchewan justice system.

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