Wrongful Conviction - Guy Paul Morin

Wrongful Conviction Case Study

Guy Paul Morin

Submitted by:   Amanda Gourlay

December 2009
On October 3, 1984, a nine-year-old girl named Christine Jessop disappeared from her home in Queensville, Ontario.   After an exhaustive 3-month search, her body was found on December 31, 1984 50 km east of her home.   The police soon identified Morin, the little girls neighbour, as one of 5 suspects.

      In any investigation, police are required to adhere to regulations related to the protection of crime scenes and their adjoining areas to obtain as much information about a crime as possible.   On the day that Christine‚Äôs body was found, a cigarette butt found in the general vicinity of her remains was tagged, bagged and photographed by Sergeant Michalowsky, the senior identification officer who was in charge of the identification unit of the Durham Regional Police Service (Kaufman, 1995).   At the time the cigarette butt was found, it was unclear whether it was relevant to the case, as it could have been left at the scene before, during or after the crime.   If the butt did belong to the killer, there was a possibility of identifying him/her through trace elements such as DNA found in saliva.   In this case, it was discovered that a Constable had discarded his own cigarette near the body and subsequently removed it.   Unfortunately, the brand of cigarette that the Constable smoked was not the brand of the butt in the photographs taken of the crime scene, indicating that he disposed of the wrong butt.   The Sergeant testified that no cigarette butts were found at the crime scene, and was subsequently charged with one count of perjury for making false statements under oath and two counts of willfully attempting to obstruct justice.

      The autopsy conducted by Dr. Hillsdon Smith on January 2, 1985, indicated two bruises due to blunt impact, a cut on the vertebrae and cuts on several ribs, and concluded the injuries were consistent with multiple stab wounds from a...