Romeo Phillion, wrongly convicted for murder, sues Ontario government for $14 million


A canadian man wrongfully imprisoned for 31 years is suing the Ontario government for $14 million.


Daniel Berehulak

Romeo Phillion, an Ontario man who was wrongfully imprisoned for murder for 31 years, has launched a $14 million lawsuit against the province, Post Media News reported. 

Phillion, who was convicted for the 1967 murder of Ottawa firefighter Leopold Roy, is alleging that his wrongful conviction and imprisonment was a result of "malicious, reckless and negligent conduct" by the Attorney General of Ontario, the Ottawa Police Services Board, and retired detectives John McCombie and Stephen Nadori, according to Post Media. 

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“No amount of monetary compensation is going to turn back the hands of time and necessarily correct the wrong that was caused to Mr. Phillion and the miscarriage of justice that he suffered,” Phillion's co-counsel David Robins said in a telephone interview with the Globe and Mail. “But our hope is that if we're successful in the lawsuit and we're able to recover a substantial sum of money for Mr. Phillion, that it will allow him to live the balance of his life in some level of comfort.”

Phillion's conviction was quashed after the Crown considered an undisclosed 1968 police report written by detective McCombie, which confirmed Phillion’s earlier alibi of being at a service station 288 kilometers away from Ottawa two hours before Roy's murder, according to the Globe and Mail.

Phillion confessed to the crime upon his arrest, but later took it back, the Globe and Mail reported. In subsequent years, he repeatedly denied his involvement in the murder.

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Phillion is believed to have served more prison time than any other wrongfully convicted person in the country, and said he faces health problems, including emphysema and lung disease, as a result of his time in prison, he told the Toronto Star last week.

“I didn’t do 32 years for nothing,” the 73-year-old said to the Star. “I lost my freedom. Somebody’s got to pay for that.” 

Ontario has said the province will defend the claim, but declined to comment on the allegations.

“As this matter is subject to litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further,” attorney general spokesperson Brendan Crawley told the Star.