Cover of Innocence on Trial

Innocence on Trial

The Framing of Ivan Henry

By (author): Joan McEwen
ISBN 9781772030020
Softcover | Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Book Dimensions: 6 in x 9 in
344 Pages
$22.95 CAD

About the Book

Finalist, 2015 Arthur Ellis Prize for Non-Fiction from the Crime Writers’ Association of Canada

In early-1980s Vancouver, Ivan Henry was an ex-convict still adjusting to civilian life when he was detained on a break-and-enter charge. A short time later, he found himself on trial for ten charges of sexual assault-crimes he vehemently denied committing. Declared a dangerous offender in November 1983, Henry spent twenty-seven years in prison before being acquitted in 2010 on the basis of unreliable evidence. To this day he has not been compensated or publicly exonerated.

This is a powerful story of justice miscarried and one man’s determined quest to win restitution for the wrongly convicted.

About the Author(s)

Joan McEwen is a Vancouver-born labour lawyer and arbitration specialist. Educated at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia, she was called to the bar in 1978. After making partner at two law firms, she became a freelance labour arbitrator, her specialty since 1990. She is actively involved in innocence projects across North America that help exonerate and compensate the wrongfully convicted. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.


"The disastrous trial and subsequent tribulations of Ivan Henry, including a quarter of a century of hard prison time for multiple sexual assaults he likely did not commit, shines light on an appalling miscarriage of Canadian justice. Ivan Henry emerges as stubborn and misinformed; a misguided, self-represented litigant. But there are lots of such people trapped in the courts, and the system needs to do a better job of dealing with them. In Ivan Henry’s case, it failed miserably." —Ian Binnie, former Supreme Court of Canada Justice
"With forensic precision, Joan McEwen dissects the 'evidence' that confined Ivan Henry to twenty-seven years of wrongful imprisonment. How could so many stakeholders in the criminal justice system so woefully abjure their duty such that the real offender not only went unpunished but remained at liberty to commit further crimes? Shocking!" —Dr. Michael Naughton, founder and director, Innocence Network UK
"This riveting true crime account brings alive how Ivan Henry was wrongly convicted by a flawed legal system that failed to find the truth. Joan McEwen deserves a medal for her role in helping to right the wrong." —Elizabeth F. Loftus, distinguished professor, University of California, Irvine
"Masterfully narrated, the story of Ivan Henry demonstrates that, when prosecutors and police blindly pursue convictions, they ignore the inherent obligation of the state to be fair and just. This book should be required reading for e very law student, prosecutor, defence lawyer and trial judge in Canada." —Ujjal Dosanjh, Q.C., former Premier of British Columbia
"Joan McEwen has given the country a great, original book, but also a wake-up call. For those who think innocent people don’t go to prison, the incredible saga of Ivan Henry will open their eyes. Ms. McEwen, both as lawyer and author, take a bow." —Michael Harris, author of Justice Denied: The Law Versus Donald Marshall
"You don't have to like Ivan Henry or agree with everything Joan McEwen says to shudder in horror at how our justice system grinds on and sometimes grinds people in its wake." —Julian Sher, author of Until You Are Dead: Steven Truscott's Long Ride into History