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Lawyers coming to Yellowknife to review Warren case

Fundraiser dinner planned

Jorge Barrera
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 07/02) - Lawyers with a legal group that fights for people wrongfully convicted of crimes will be in Yellowknife next week to research the case of convicted mine bomber Roger Warren.

"They are here to touch base with (Warren's) family and to give the family a sense of what is to be expected," said Steve Petersen, a spokesperson for a small Warren support group which raised $3,000 to bring up the lawyers.

James Lockyer, director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted, believes Warren could have been coerced into confessing his crime.

The group will arrive in Yellowknife Aug. 13.

They are still months away from deciding whether to pursue Warren's case. Warren was convicted of second-degree murder in 1995 after telling police he planted the bomb that killed nine miners on Sept. 18, 1992 during a bitter strike which began the same year.

He admitted to the bombing in 1993 after two lie detector tests and 16 interviews.

Warren maintains his innocence to this day and believes he was coerced into confessing.

"I'm positive it happened," said Warren, 58, during a previous interview with Yellowknifer. "Rather, it was over-coercion."

Warren has served seven years of a life sentence with no chance of parole for 20 years at Stony Mountain Penitentiary in Manitoba.

During a 1997 appeal, Warren's lawyers tried to use the coerced confession defence but a three-judge panel of the Northwest Territories Court of Appeal wouldn't buy it.

Lockyer, along with Toronto lawyer Phil Campbell and Winnipeg lawyer Al Libman, will hold a $50-a-plate fundraising dinner for their group during their stay, said Petersen. The dinner is to be held at the Smoke House cafe in Ndilo Aug. 14.

The legal group has tackled the cases of Guy Paul Morin and David Milgaard, who were both wrongfully convicted of murder.