Saskatoon

David Milgaard speaks at U of S about his wrongful conviction

David Milgaard, who was wrongfully convicted of murder in Saskatoon, gave a lecture in the city on preventing what happened to him.

Talk held at University of Saskatchewan College of Law

David Milgaard's talk on wrongful conviction moves packed lecture hall at U of S, Dani Mario reports. 2:02

David Milgaard is back in the city where it all went wrong.

Milgaard, who was wrongfully convicted of murder, gave a lecture to a packed theatre at the University of Saskatchewan's College of Law Wednesday.

David Milgaard gives a lecture at the University of Saskatchewan College of Law about preventing wrongful convictions. (Dani Mario/CBC)
He spoke about his experiences in prison, and outlined his criticisms of the Canadian justice system.

"I spent almost 23 years of my life inside of Canada's worst prisons," he said. "It was a nightmare. People don't have much care inside those walls."

"Our punitive justice model fails our community and creates more criminality and fails our victims," he said, adding that there should be more focus on restorative justice.

Milgaard was wrongfully convicted of the murder of Gail Miller, who was killed in Saskatoon on January 31, 1969. He was cleared of the crime in 1997. Two years later, he received a $10 million compensation package from the Saskatchewan government. 

He said he holds no ill will to the city where his experience in the justice system began.

"I don't feel a sense that this is a horrible place because my experience took place here," he said. "I don't feel that way at all."

Milgaard packed lecture hall

The lecture theatre was filled with young students, as well as those who followed Milgaard's case closely as it happened.

Dennis Nowoselsky drove from La Ronge to listen to Milgaard speak.

The former parole and probation officer said he worked in a prison where the real killer, Larry Fisher, was serving time. He said Milgaard's case is an embarrassment.

"I've seen others that have been in his situation and it's just sad," he said. "It's tragic."

Milgaard also called for an independent review board to look at claims of wrongful conviction like his.

"When you feel the important freedoms that you deserve are no longer on your horizon, you become lost," he said.

"I waited on them to find the truth and clear my name and set us free. They failed, and in the end DNA cleared my name."

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