After 11 years of bringing you local reporting, the team behind the Vancouver Observer has moved on to Canada's National Observer. You can follow Vancouver culture reporting over there from now on. Thank you for all your support over the years!

Vancouver man files lawsuit after 27 years in prison

Vancouver man launches lawsuit over wrongful 1983 rape convictions

VANCOUVER -- A Vancouver man who spent 27 years in prison for a series of sexual assaults he did not commit is seeking compensation through the province's courts.

Lawyers for Ivan Henry are asking for unspecified damages from the provincial and federal attorneys general, the City of Vancouver and three members of the Vancouver police department.

They filed their notice of civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court Tuesday.

"As a result of the wrongful acts and omissions of the defendants...the plaintiff was charged, detained in custody, wrongfully convicted and imprisoned, and his wrongful convictions were not set aside until 2010,'' the court documents state.

"He has consequently suffered, is suffering, and will continue to suffer, loss and damage.''

None of the parties named in the suit has yet filed a statement of defence.

According to court documents, Henry says he lost his liberty, reputation and privacy, and suffered humiliation, disgrace and pain, following his wrongful conviction for eight sexual assaults in March 1983 and his subsequent designation as a dangerous offender.

He says he also lost the enjoyment of life, everyday experiences, income, as well as benefits and a pension.

Henry says his daughters Tanya Olivares and Kari Rietze suffered, too, and he is seeking compensation for them.

"As a result of his wrongful conviction and incarceration they were effectively deprived of a father and of the benefits of a father's love, guidance and affection,'' the documents say.

Henry maintained his innocence throughout his nearly three-decades-long ordeal.

In October 2010, justices on B.C.'s Court of Appeal unanimously acquitted Henry of 10 sexual offences against eight complainants.

They heard Crown lawyers and the judge made several mistakes during the 1983 trial. The Crown conceded that evidence wasn't disclosed to Henry as it should have been and if he was tried again, a jury wouldn't convict him.

The court also heard that there was evidence that Henry was suffering from a mental disorder during the trial at which he represented himself.

The justices also heard Henry was held in a choke hold while victims picked him out of a police lineup.

Henry currently lives in Vancouver and is unemployed.

More in Crime

Police procedural in a palimpsest

Upintheair Theatre brings "The City and the City" to the city. Noire futurology @ PuShFest.

Chief coroner's statement on the death of Lucia Vega Jimenez

The BC Coroners Service confirms it is investigating the death of 42-year-old Lucia Vega Jimenez, a Mexican national who died December 28, 2013, at Mount St Joseph Hospital in Vancouver, according to...

VPD issue public warning following sexual assault

Vancouver Police are warning the public after a woman was tackled to the ground and sexually assaulted last night. Here's more, from the press release sent to Vancouver Observer by the Vancouver...
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.