Challenging a Decades-Old Conviction: Indigenous Man Seeks Bail in Landmark Case

An Indigenous man convicted of murder in 1974 is making a groundbreaking effort to secure bail while awaiting a decision from Canada’s federal justice minister on his conviction. Clarence Woodhouse is seeking to have his conviction overturned for the death of Ting Fong Chan. Woodhouse’s application for a ministerial review was submitted by Innocence Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for those wrongfully convicted.

Chief Justice Glenn Joyal previously acquitted Brian Anderson and Allan Woodhouse in Chan’s death, acknowledging that racial discrimination had played a role in their wrongful conviction. Woodhouse’s case is further complicated by the fact that the prosecution relied heavily on a confession he allegedly made in English, despite Saulteaux being his primary language.

Woodhouse claims that he was coerced and assaulted by Winnipeg police into signing a false confession. Despite his testimony, the trial judge and jury found him guilty. Now, after an agonizing 49-year wait for justice, Woodhouse is appearing in the same court that wrongfully convicted him all those years ago.

Clarence Woodhouse is a member of the Pinaymootang First Nation, and his brother Russell Woodhouse, who was also implicated in the case, tragically passed away in 2011. Innocence Canada has filed a posthumous application on Russell Woodhouse’s behalf, supported by his surviving sister, Linda Anderson.

This case brings to light the systemic issues plaguing the justice system and the urgent need for reform. Woodhouse’s pursuit of justice serves as a powerful reminder that wrongful convictions can have devastating consequences that span generations.


Q: What is Innocence Canada?
Innocence Canada is a non-profit organization that works to exonerate individuals who have been wrongly convicted of crimes.

Q: What happened in the original trial?
Clarence Woodhouse was convicted of murder based on a confession he allegedly made in English, despite it not being his first language. Woodhouse claims he was coerced into signing a false confession.

Q: What is the significance of Chief Justice Glenn Joyal’s ruling?
Chief Justice Joyal acknowledged the role of racial discrimination in wrongful convictions, shedding light on the urgent need for reform in the justice system.

Q: Why is Innocence Canada filing a posthumous application for Russell Woodhouse?
Despite Russell Woodhouse’s passing, Innocence Canada believes it is essential to shed light on the systemic issues that led to his wrongful conviction. His surviving sister supports the application.

Q: What implications does this case have for the justice system?
Clarence Woodhouse’s case exposes the need for significant reform in the justice system to address systemic issues such as racial discrimination and the potential for wrongful convictions.