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Robert Mailman and Walter Gillespie spent 18 and 21 years respectively in prison and until today were required to submit to strict release conditions.

Two New Brunswickers exonerated 40 years after being convicted of murder

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Robert Mailman and Walter Gillespie at leaving the courthouse in Saint-Jean, New Brunswick, Thursday afternoon.

  • Catherine Allard (View profile)Catherine Allard

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Forty years after being convicted of murder, two New Brunswickers walked out of the palace of justice of Saint-Jean as free men Thursday afternoon.

Court of King's Bench Chief Justice Tracey K. DeWare said Thursday afternoon that it is extremely regrettable that it took 40 years for these two men to be found innocent.

< p class="Text-sc-2357a233-1 imohSo">They have had their freedom stolen and their faith in the justice system has been stolen.

A quote from Ron Dalton, Co-Chair from Innocence Canada

Today 81 years old, Walter Gillespie lives in a house transition in Saint-Jean. Robert Mailman, 76, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Robert Mailman and Walter Gillespie were convicted of the second degree murder of George Gilman Leeman on November 30, 1983 in Saint John.

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They were then sentenced to life in prison without parole parole before age 18.

Their case was subsequently dismissed in the Court of Appeal of New Brunswick. Actions before the Supreme Court of Canada were also rejected.

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L' hearing took place at the courthouse in Saint-Jean, New Brunswick.

The two men therefore spent 18 years in prison and were still subject to strict release conditions until today, according to Ron Dalton, co-president of the organization Innocence Canada, which legally represents them.

Last December, Federal Justice Minister Arif Virani announced that he had ordered the holding for a new trial, as a miscarriage of justice [had] likely occurred.

Thursday afternoon, During the appearance, Judge Tracey K. DeWare recalled that the two men were innocent in the eyes of the law in the 1983 murder of George Gilman Leeman.

She then asked the two men to record their plea.

Not guilty, Robert Mailman said in a broken voice. Walter Gillespie echoed her statement in a deeper voice.

The Crown then informed the court that she would present no evidence.

Judge Tracey K. DeWare said that' #x27;a verdict of not guilty was therefore the only possible verdict.

Mr. Mailman and Mr. Gillespie today entered this courtroom innocent in the eyes of the law following Minister Virani's order, the judge said. They will be able to leave the court today with this presumption of innocence maintained and forever confirmed by the fact that they were found not guilty of this charge.

Walter Gillespie was very emotional as he left the Saint-Jean courthouse, after the verdict. Visibly in shock, he had difficulty speaking. He simply said that he did not think he would see the day when he would be exonerated. I feel good.

Too weakened by illness, Robert Mailman was unable to to speak.

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Ron Dalton spoke on behalf of Robert Mailman and Walter Gillespie leaving the Saint-Jean courthouse.

Ron Dalton spoke on their behalf. They are happy that this day has finally come, but we have to look at what happened and we have to resolve this issue. It's too late for these men. They will never regain the lost years.

He also deplores the fact that Gilman Leeman's family does not&#x27 ;will never get justice for his murder.

Innocence Canada did not wish to comment details of the legal proceedings Thursday afternoon, saying she will do so later.

L&amp However, the organization said serious questions need to be asked about the work of the Saint John police at the time, calling it a disgrace.

The organization explained that the badly bruised and partially burned body of George Gilman Leeman was found by a jogger in a wooded area in the Saint-Jean area in 1983.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">She claims that Robert Mailman and Walter Gillespie both had strong alibis with numerous witnesses who claimed both men were far from the crime scene on the day of murder.

Two eyewitnesses, however, testified for the Crown during the first trial. One of them, Josh Arnold Loeman, 18, signed an affidavit that was used in the Court of Appeal in 1988.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">In that affidavit, he recanted what he had initially told police about the murder.

The 18-year-old said his trial testimony was false and that the police made him testify after threatening to charge him and send him to prison.< /p>

However, in a letter later submitted to the Court of Appeal, Josh Arnold Loeman stated that this' #x27;was his retraction which was false and that he had done so to protect himself from threats made by those close to Robert Mailman.

The Court of Appeal concluded that this new evidence was not credible and dismissed the appeal.

With information from Aidan Cox, Louis-Philippe Trozzo and The Canadian Press

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116