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HE IS FINALLY FREE.




Clarence Woodhouse, a 21 year old Indigenous male and member of the Pinaymootang FirstNation, had in 1973 recently moved to Winnipeg from the Fairford Indian Reserve, 240 kilometres north-west of Winnipeg. He had no criminal record and was gainfully employed. On July 22, 1973, he was charged with the brutal murder of a man called Ting Fong Chan, killed by unknown
assailants five days earlier on the streets of Winnipeg as he walked home from work. Mr. Woodhouse was not there when Mr. Chan was killed and had no involvement in the homicide.
Nevertheless, he was arrested and assaulted and forced to sign a false confession that he had murdered Mr. Chan. Clarence Woodhouse’s co-accused, his brother Russell Woodhouse, Brian Anderson and Allan Woodhouse were also assaulted by members of the Winnipeg Police Service and forced to sign
their own confessions to murdering Mr. Chan.
All four men proclaimed their innocence, but no one believed them. The nightmare continued and they went to trial for murder before an all-white
jury. The police officers, the lawyers, and the judge were all white men. Neither Clarence nor his brother Russell were proficient in the English language, Saulteaux/Ojibway being their spoken language. Despite this, both were said to have confessed in clear and articulate English, something neither were capable of.
Three of the men, including Clarence Woodhouse, were convicted of murder and sent to jail for life. Russell Woodhouse was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years in prison. They kept proclaiming their innocence but still no one listened.
Decades later, they heard about Innocence Canada and asked for our help. Innocence Canada adopted their cases and took them to the Minister of Justice. No one could give them back the years stolen from them, but they hoped that someone would finally recognize their innocence.
On June 22, 2023, Brian Anderson and Allan Woodhouse had their convictions for murder quashed by the Minister of Justice David Lametti, and at their subsequent appearance on July 18, 2023 before Chief Justice Glenn Joyal in the Court of King’s Bench they were acquitted and exonerated.
In August 2023, Innocence Canada located Clarence Woodhouse and he requested our assistance in seeking a ministerial review of his conviction for the murder.
On October 23, 2023, he was released on bail pending the Minister’s decision.Innocence Canada: Justice for the Wrongly Convicted Unfortunately, Clarence’s brother Russell had died on May 21, 2011. Nevertheless, at his sister
Linda Anderson’s request, Innocence Canada brought a ministerial review application on Russell’ s behalf seeking his posthumous exoneration.
Today, Minister Arif Virani quashed Clarence Woodhouse’s conviction for murder and directed a new trial pursuant to the provisions of the Criminal Code. This is the Minister’s highest power in a ministerial review application.
Russell Woodhouse’s posthumous application to the Minister remains outstanding.
Clarence Woodhouse’s story is one of remarkable courage and perseverance. Today, he lives in Winnipeg with his son and five grandchildren.
Jerome Kennedy, a Director of Innocence Canada who worked on Mr. Woodhouse’s case for his vindication, said today: “This is a great day for Clarence Woodhouse. 51 years has been an interminable wait for him. We never doubted his innocence. The Minister’s decision today is very welcome.”
James Lockyer, also a Director of Innocence Canada who worked with Mr. Kennedy on the case, said today: “Innocence Canada is privileged to have been able to help Mr. Woodhouse. His case, and the cases of his co-accused, raise important systemic issues that need to be addressed in Manitoba and across Canada. Innocence Canada looks forward to continue discussing with the Federal and Provincial Governments how to right the wrongs of our criminal justice system done to Indigenous peoples in the past, and preventing the same wrongs being done to Indigenous peoples in the future.”
We expect a date will be set for Mr. Woodhouse to appear before the presiding Justice of the Manitoba King’s Bench Court in the near future.

For further information, contact:

Jerome Kennedy at 709-725-2966 or jkennedy@makethecall.ca

James Lockyer at 416-518-7983 or jlockyer@lzzdefence.ca

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