BLG pro bono team scores record win in wrongful conviction

A wrongfully convicted Quebec man granted what’s believed to be the largest civil award in Canada for such cases is full of praise for the pro bono team that represented him for the last three years.

Five lawyers at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP took on Réjean Hinse’s case: Guy Pratte, partner and chairman of the firm’s national council; Alexander De Zordo, partner and regional manager of the litigation department; and associates Katherine Loranger, Marc Unger, and Patrick Plante.

“Among the litigators I’ve come to know, Mr. De Zordo, Mr. Pratte, and Ms. Loranger of BLG are truly in a league of their own. . . . They are true champions for those who, like myself, have struggled with unbearable injustice,” said Hinse.

According to the civil court judgment, Hinse is to receive $13.1 million, including $8.6 million from the federal government and $4.5 million from the province. He spent five years in jail following his conviction in the armed robbery of a general store in Mont-Laurier, Que., in 1961. While the victims identified Hinse in a police lineup, he maintained his innocence following his release on parole in 1969. As a result of fresh evidence, he eventually cleared his name at the Supreme Court of Canada and went on to launch the civil suit.

The BLG lawyers were celebrating their victory yesterday. “It is the type of complex litigation that litigators live for,” said De Zordo.

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