Last week, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, introduced a bill to amend the Criminal Code that would deal with the potential miscarriage of justice cases. Bill C-40 is entitled the Miscarriage of Justice Review Commission Act (David and Joyce Milgaard’s Law). 

The bill is named after David and Joyce Milgaard whose lives were turned upside down when David was wrongfully convicted of a crime he did not commit. He spent 23 years in prison before being released in 1992 and eventually exonerated in 1997 which was due to his mom Joyce’s unwavering crusade to exonerate her son. Likewise, David was denied bail for decades because he would not admit to being guilty of the crime.  

Sadly, David passed away last year, and Joyce died in 2020 before Bill C-40, in their name, was proposed.  

Some Cochranites may not realize, that in his later years, David Milgaard and his family called Cochrane home until his death in 2022.  

91.5 Cochrane Now had the opportunity to speak with David Milgaard, in October of 2020, just seven months after the death of his mom, Joyce. In that interview, Milgaard spoke of how his mom fought tirelessly to prove his innocence. “My mother just fought everyone and anyone to eventually get me out of prison. I went inside prison when I was 16 years old and I spent almost 23 years inside there. Eventually, she actually mobilized the country and got a lot of people on her side and they released me in a rather lousy situation they didn’t say that David Milgaard’s not guilty. The supreme court let me go but we persevered.” The Milgaard family enlisted help from DNA experts from England and the tests eventually proved David’s innocence. The same test discovered the identity of the person responsible for the rape and murder of nursing student Gail Miller.  

Bill C-40 had its first reading in the House of Commons on February 16, 2023, and is now in the second reading. Justice Minister Lametti said in a media briefing, “I'm going to try to get this through as fast as I can, through the parliamentary process," he said. "I think I've got good support in the House and in the Senate. And then we'll move as quickly as possible to get this thing up and running."