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Family Members of Christine Jessop Demand Independent Review of Murder Investigation

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TORONTO, Oct. 28, 2020 /CNW/ - The mother and brother of murder victim Christine Jessop have added their voices to an Innocence Canada demand for an independent review into how two police forces failed, for three decades, to find the man now identified as being the killer based on DNA analysis - Calvin Hoover.

Janet and Kenneth Jessop say authorities must account for how Hoover, a family friend who took part in searches for Christine in 1984 and attended her funeral and wake, was not investigated until forensic scientists provided evidence that led to him this summer.

"The last 36 years have been a nightmare of trials and appeals and blindsides that have almost destroyed my mother and I," Mr. Jessop said in a statement sent last night to Innocence Canada. "Our prayers were answered on Oct. 15, 2020. But the answer was not justice. It was a kick in the teeth. With that answer came a million questions."

The Jessop's said that an independent review is the only way to supply the answers they need: "We support Innocence Canada in their call for an independent inquiry into this double miscarriage of justice. They convicted an innocent man of a horrendous crime. They also convicted an innocent family to 36 years of pain, hurt, whispers and nightmares. Now, we need justice."

From 1985 to 1995, the case resided with the Durham force. Upon Guy Paul Morin being exonerated and acquitted of the killing in 1995, Toronto Police (TPS) took over and assigned nearly a dozen officers to the Christine Jessop Task Force in order to investigate the case with fresh eyes. Having failed in this mission, the task force was disbanded in 1999.

TPS announced the case had finally been solved ten days ago, when cold case investigators, acting on information from forensic DNA testing by US crime labs, identified the killer as Calvin Hoover, a Jessop family friend at the time of the sex-slaying. Police are continuing to sift through tips that have come in since their announcement.

As the country's leading advocate for the wrongly convicted, Innocence Canada believes that invaluable lessons can and must be extracted from the case to provide guidance to future investigations and to forever underline the importance of rigorously adhering to elementary, methodical investigative steps.

An independent review could be limited in scope and not involve public hearings. Nor, would it have to examine a host of other events and mistakes that have been painstakingly cataloged by the 1996 Kaufman inquiry.

The Ontario Ministry of the Attorney-General stated yesterday that it would be inappropriate to conduct an inquiry while the investigation of Mr. Hoover is ongoing.

However, Innocence Canada believes any perceived impropriety can be alleviated by the Ministry simply making a firm commitment now to convene an independent review when the Hoover investigation has concluded.

Janet and Ken Jessop have indicated a willingness to be available for media interviews. They have requested that interviews be arranged through Innocence Canada.

SOURCE Innocence Canada

Cision
Cision

View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/October2020/28/c4992.html