This is the third and final installment in a series on the exoneration of Guy Paul Morin. After Morin was convicted in the death of his 9-year-old neighbour Christine Jessop a grass roots movement grew that did not believe Morin was guilty. The media also began raising questions about the case against Morin. Reporter and author Kirk Makin wrote a book about the case called “Redrum The Innocent” and the CBC’s Fifth Estate aired a segment called “Odd Man Out” which detailed the errors made by police, forensic analysts and the justice system.
After spending seven months behind bars at Kingston Penitentiary, Morin was released on bail pending an appeal. While waiting for the appeal to take place, there was a major development that would eventually lead to the case against Morin being resolved once and for all. Christine’s semen stained underwear were sent to a lab in Boston to determine if DNA testing was possible. The Crown agreed that if a DNA sample was obtained and it did not match Morin they would drop the case against him.
On January 23, 1995, just as the appeal was to begin, it was announced at the Ontario Court of Appeal that the DNA on Christine’s underwear did not match Morin’s DNA. After a 10-year legal battle Morin was acquitted of first degree murder in the death of Christine Jessop. A joyous Morin was greeted by a massive scrum of reporters, including myself, on the steps outside the courthouse.
Following the acquittal Morin and his family were awarded $1.25 million. An inquiry was also held to find out what went wrong. Following the inquiry, the judge who over saw the proceedings released a scathing 1300 page report which accused Prosecutor Leo McGuigan from the 2nd trial and Police Detectives Sheppard and Fitzpatrick of having tunnel vision in the most staggering proportions.
The report contained a whopping 119 recommendations including the establishment of a
a national DNA databank, better training at the Centre of Forensic Sciences and limits on the use of jail house informants.
Morin attended the inquiry every day and then disappeared from public view. He married a woman who was part of the organization that helped win his acquittal and they had two sons.
The murder of Christine Jessop has never been solved and the case now lives with the Toronto Police Cold Case Squad.
The Association in the Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted is now called Innocence Canada. They have helped to clear the names of 20 other wrongfully convicted people including Romeo Phillion, Robert Baltovich and Steven Truscott.