Former MLA hopes fugitive's arrest will clear his name
Published Saturday, January 15, 2011 4:32PM EST
A former Manitoba MLA hopes to clear his name after the arrest of a Canadian fugitive who had been on the run for more than 30 years.
Bob Wilson says he hopes the arrest of Ian Jackson MacDonald in Florida this week will finally prove he was not involved in a scheme to import pot into Manitoba.
"It's just unbelievable, because this is new evidence and this is going to be wonderful," Wilson told CTV from Vancouver this week.
Wilson was convicted and jailed in 1980 on drug charges, forcing him to lose his seat in the Manitoba legislature, where he was Progressive Conservative MLA for a Winnipeg riding.
He professed his innocence at the time and hasn't changed his tune since. He was jailed for seven years.
"All these attempts to destroy me have failed. The truth will set everybody free," Wilson said.
MacDonald, the alleged mastermind behind the drug scheme, escaped from custody in the U.S. thirty years ago.
Authorities say he faked a heart attack and was able to escape from the hospital.
The 71-year-old was arrested on Tuesday. He had been living with his wife under an assumed name for years.
He reportedly told a U.S. marshall during his arrest: "I've been looking over my shoulder all these years. I wondered when this day would come."
Wilson and MacDonald are former friends. MacDonald, a former Winnipegger, was a yacht dealer based out of Florida.
Wilson was convicted for a scheme to import 225 kilograms of marijuana hidden in boats from Florida to Winnipeg.
Wilson had claimed he did not know about the drugs in the boats.
Federal prosecutors have confirmed they are now looking at the case again but it could be years before MacDonald's trial goes ahead.
For Wilson, now 76 years old, he says it's never too late for redemption and he's pledging to take a polygraph.
"I've been blessed with the fact I have a steal trap memory," he said.
With a report from CTV's Jill Macyshon