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Milgaard, David (1952-)

David Milgaard, June 1992.
Roy Antal (Regina Leader-Post)

In a notorious miscarriage of justice, teenager David Milgaard was wrongfully convicted of the 1969 murder of Saskatoon nursing student Gail Miller. Throughout the twenty-three years he spent in prison, David Milgaard and his mother, Joyce, maintained his innocence and fought for his release. In 1991, federal Justice Minister Kim Campbell ordered the Supreme Court to review Milgaard's case. Its report forced the Saskatchewan government to free Milgaard, though no acquittal was issued. In 1997, DNA evidence exonerated Milgaard, and led the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to arrest Larry Fisher, a serial rapist convicted of committing several Saskatoon crimes at the time of Gail Miller's death. Saskatoon police and prosecutors missed evidence connecting Fisher with Miller's murder at the time of Milgaard's trial. After Fisher's conviction in 1999, the Saskatchewan government issued an apology and a $10 million compensation package, the largest in Canadian history, to David Milgaard and his family. Through this terrible experience, Joyce Milgaard became a leading activist in overturning wrongful conviction cases across Canada. In 2004, the Saskatchewan government launched an inquiry to look into the way Milgaard's case was investigated and prosecuted.

Merle Massie

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Further Reading

Edwards, P. and T. Tyler. 2004. “Joyce Milgaard Knocks Inquiry.” Toronto Star (February 21); Eisler, D. and L. Perreaux. 1997. “Fisher Charged in Milgaard Case.” Maclean's (August 4).
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