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Unit 2: Criminal Law

CHAPTER 4: CRIMINAL LAW AND CRIMINAL OFFENCES

E-ACTIVITY: DAVID MILGAARD CASE (p. 117)

Activity: Construct a Time Line of Significant Events

"Wrongful conviction." "A substantial miscarriage of justice." "When Justice Fails." All three of these headlines have been used to describe the case of David Milgaard, a young man who spent 22 years in a Canadian prison for a crime he didn't commit. How can such a mistake happen? What did Milgaard have to go through to clear his name? How do you compensate an individual for such an injustice? Work through the following activities to better understand the specifics of the Milgaard case and its significance in Canadian law.

  1. Visit the CBC News site to review the facts of the David Milgaard case. To discover more about Larry Fisher, who was subsequently convicted in the murder, read the online article "Wrongfully Convicted" at the CBC News Web site or click the links to the additional stories listed in the sidebar to the right of the article.

    Use your findings to complete the significant events time line below. Click here to download this chart.
TIMELINE: SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN THE DAVID MILGAARD CASE
Date
Significant Event
January 31, 1969

 

Mid-1969

 

January 31, 1970

 

January 31, 1971

 

November 15, 1971

 

1973

 

1980

 

December 1988

 

1988

 

February 27, 1991

 

August 1991

 

November 29, 1991

 

1992

 

July 18, 1997

 

July 25, 1997

 

October 12, 1999

 

May 1999

 

November 1999

 

January 2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

  1. While creating your time line, you will have noted that the government of Canada referred the case to the Supreme Court of Canada. What does it mean to "refer" a case to the Supreme Court? Find out by visiting the Department of Justice Canada Web site. Read the backgrounder so you can answer the following two questions:
    • What is a reference?
    • What is the significance of the Milgaard reference?
  1. Research the Milgaard reference by visiting the Lexum Web site, which is the site of the Faculty of Law at the University of Montreal. Summarize the final Court decision in one paragraph.

  2. Do you think the $10 million adequately compensates David Milgaard for the 22 years he lost while locked up in prison? Explain.
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