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James Lockyer to receive Order of Canada

Wednesday, January 02, 2019 @ 11:55 AM | By John Chunn

James Lockyer will be awarded the Order of Canada for his long-standing commitment to social justice as a criminal lawyer and as a champion of civil liberties and human rights.

The announcement was made by Governor General Julie Payette on Dec. 27, 2018. It was among the 103 new appointments made to the Order.

A founding director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (now called Innocence Canada) when it was established in 1993, Lockyer has played a pivotal role in many of Innocence Canada’s 22 exonerations.

In addition, he led a series of cases arising from the unreliable expert testimony of pathologist Charles Smith, which resulted in Innocence Canada’s most recent exoneration of O’Neil Blackett in October 2018. In total, Innocence Canada’s exonerees spent more than 190 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.

In a joint statement, Innocence Canada co-presidents Kirk Makin and Ron Dalton commented Innocence Canada has a record number of cases currently under review for possible exoneration, in no small part thanks to James’ legal leadership.”