Hersh Wolch acted in sev­eral wrong­ful con­vic­tion cases

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT -

A lawyer who rep­re­sented some of Canada’s most prom­i­nent wrong­fully con­victed, in­clud­ing David Mil­gaard, has died.

Hersh Wolch was 77.

The Cal­gary law of­fice where he worked with his son Gavin con­firmed Wolch’s death on Mon­day.

Wolch was born in Win­nipeg and was a Crown pros­e­cu­tor in Man­i­toba af­ter re­ceiv­ing his law de­gree in 1965.

He rose to promi­nence in the 1990s for his work on Mil­gaard’s case.

Mil­gaard spent 23 years in prison for the 1969 rape and mur­der of Saska­toon nurse Gail Miller. He was re­leased in 1992 af­ter his mother, who fought tire­lessly to clear her son’s name, man­aged to get the case heard by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Wolch, along with David Asper, rep­re­sented Mil­gaard at the high court and ar­gued that po­lice fo­cused on Mil­gaard — a drifter pass­ing through Saska­toon with friends — early in their in­ves­ti­ga­tion to the ex­clu­sion of other sus­pects. The con­vic­tion was thrown out.

Mil­gaard was ex­on­er­ated in July 1997 af­ter DNA tests proved that se­men found at the crime scene didn’t match his.

Larry Fisher, an­other long­time sus­pect, was con­victed in De­cem­ber 1999 of first-de­gree mur­der in Miller’s death.

The Saskatchewan gov­ern­ment is­sued Mil­gaard a for­mal apol­ogy and awarded him a $10-mil­lion com­pen­sa­tion pack­age.

“It’s never been sug­gested that any­body was try­ing to frame an in­no­cent per­son. It’s that they went into a tun­nel and they went down that tun­nel and they did not de­vi­ate from go­ing down that tun­nel,” he told an in­quiry in his clos­ing ar­gu­ments.

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