Hersh Wolch acted in several wrongful conviction cases
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.