TRANSCRIPT: Ivan Henry reacts to acquittal
Ivan Henry of Vancouver spent more than 26 years in prison for a series of sexual assaults (at the time described in the Criminal Code of Canada as "rapes") before being released a year ago pending a B.C. Court of Appeal ruling on his case. The court finally acquitted him on Wednesday. He spoke to reporters that same day as his two daughters stood by his side. Here is a partial transcript:
"I have to thank my family, because [if] it wouldn't have been for my family, I don't think that I would have made it. In the psychological terms, you know, because it was really hard to get out, eh? You know, there was a lot of things that bothered me when I first got out, eh? Specifically, the — everybody, so many people, so many cars, so many — just everything, so much bulk in cafes and everything. It was really hard on me because I come from 82 and we didn't have the same amount of people and stuff.
"The world changed big-time, right? And of course it's still going to take a couple of days to realize all this stuff. Because this is kind of overwhelming, if that's the right term, right? I'd like to get my teeth fixed, I'd like to get everything done, you know, and try to work from there, you know — and with a great family, how can you not win?
"I thank [you] all, all across the country and all Canada, you know, because we do live in a wonderful, wonderful country. I believed [I would be cleared] from the very, very beginning — I thought it was a joke, in a sense. And as the joke kind of went away, I don't know, I had a great belief in God and in people, honesty. I believe in honesty, a lot of it, and maybe that's why, right? Because there's not much — well, we all got to believe in honesty, in some sense, that something will always work right, if you just wait for it, right? ....
"[The acquittal] wouldn't heal me if I was angry. That wouldn't do any good. I would just walk around and then start drinking or whatever. No, I can't do that. I've got grandkids that I'm so proud of and I got a little dog that I look after, and he's my friend...
"It's just the way it is, right? And I'd like to say to people that are still incarcerated, 'Don't give up. You know, keep plugging ahead and work to ... get out and to learn what society is all about. It's not all a dirty world, eh?' You know, we're all here to try to help each other and maybe, that way we can — I don't know — become better with each other, right, and try to live together. Because it's only one world and that's about it. And I don't know what else I got to say."