Wrongfully convicted New Brunswick man dies months after exoneration

Man dies after exoneration

A wrongfully convicted New Brunswick man who spent decades trying to clear his name before being declared innocent by a judge in January has died at the age of 80.

Innocence Canada, the organization that led the legal fight to exonerate Walter Gillespie and his friend Robert Mailman of their 1984 murder convictions, says Gillespie died Friday in his home in Saint John, N.B.

James Lockyer, founding director of Innocence Canada, called it sad that Gillespie, who spent 21 years in prison, died so soon after his name was cleared.

Details about the cause of death were not immediately known.

In January, New Brunswick Court of King’s Bench Chief Justice Tracey DeWare acquitted Gillespie and Mailman, 76, of the 1983 murder of a Saint John man and apologized for the "miscarriage of justice."

Her ruling came after federal Justice Minister Arif Virani ordered a new trial on Dec. 22, saying evidence had surfaced that called into question "the overall fairness of the process."

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