Glen Assoun: One of Canada's most disturbing wrongful convictions
HALIFAX -- Glen Assoun was convicted and sent to prison for a crime he has maintained for over two decades he didn’t commit. His former girlfriend, Brenda Way, was murdered on November 12, 1995.
Assoun spent nearly 17 years behind bars, where he faced extremely harsh conditions and daily abuse. While locked up, he professed his innocence every single day by wearing a hat that read “wrongly convicted 1998.”
He never lost hope that the truth would eventually come out.
“It kept my fight in me. And I couldn’t lose my fight. It was a daily battle,” Assoun said in an interview with W5.
His case represents one of the most disturbing examples of wrongful convictions in Canadian history. There was a shocking failure of accountability from both the RCMP and Halifax Regional Police.
This included tunnel vision, questionable police tactics, and collusion among witnesses. However, the most glaring violation was the burying and destruction of evidence discovered by former RCMP analyst Const. Dave Moore.
Moore worked in criminal profiling and used the RCMP's Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System (ViCLAS) when he conducted a detailed investigation into convicted serial killer Michael McGray, who is in prison for killing seven individuals.
Moore went beyond what was required of him and discovered McGray was likely the man who killed Brenda Way. He put together an in-depth digital file along with hard copy evidence that tracked McGray’s movements across the country and his patterns of behaviour.
Moore discovered that McGray, at the time of Brenda Way’s killing, lived within metres of where the murder took place and moved out within 48 hours of her death. He left all of his belongings behind.
Moore brought this and other information to his superiors but they chose to ignore it and eventually his findings were destroyed and his files deleted.
“Deep to the core cover up, on two different levels,” Moore describes of both the RCMP and Halifax Regional Police.
Moore’s investigation and conclusion occurred around the same time Assoun’s conviction was up for appeal, but without this new evidence, he lost the appeal and served another decade behind bars.
“They could have set me free and it just kept me in prison for another 10 years, I think to suffer for something I didn’t do,” said Assoun.
Eventually the RCMP publicly admitted that some mistakes were made, and in a statement to W5, said that a review “did not find that the material in question had been deleted or disposed of maliciously.”
Glen Assoun is now working to reintegrate into society, catch up on missed moments with his children and has met some of his grandkids for the first time.
He proudly wears a new hat that reads, “Exonerated March 1, 2019.”