Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sudbury Star Article: Ottawa students plan Moore documentary

Ottawa students plan Moore documentary
by Bob Vaillancourt, from The Sudbury Star, October 23, 2009.

A group of University of Ottawa students is making a documentary on Sudburian John Moore's struggle to clear himself of what he says is a wrongful murder conviction.

Moore, 53, was convicted in the June 30, 1978, death of taxi driver Donald Lanthier in Sault Ste. Marie and was sentenced to prison for life.

He is on parole after being released from prison in 1987 after nearly a decade behind bars in a federal prison.

Moore was in Ottawa last week participating in a panel conference on indigenous struggles against racism when he met Samantha Pollock and two other students from the university, who became interested in his case. They decided to make the documentary as part of their journalism studies.

Pollock will be in town this weekend shooting scenes for the documentary. She and her colleagues have already shot Moore in various locales in Ottawa, including the Parliament building, the Supreme Court of Canada building and the offices of the federal justice minister.

Moore has started a blog at justiceandfreedomforjohnmoore. blogs pot.comin which he invites people to sign a petition calling on the federal government to review his case.

Already, the campaign has garnered dozens of signatures, some as far away as San Francisco.

"When we get enough people to sign up, then we can send it to the justice minister and say, 'look. The people that signed up for this blog, they want you to do something and do something fast and stop stonewalling.' "

Reading "all those people's names is just kind a cool," Moore said.

As a result of his presentation in Ottawa last week, Moore was invited back to Ottawa next week to speak at the "Celebration of First Peoples in Canada" event at Saint Paul University.

Moore's conviction was based on the fact that he was with the two men who killed Lanthier hours before the slaying.

The prosecuting attorney argued that, as a result, he must have known what was going to happen and did nothing to stop the killing.

In 1987, the same year that Moore made day parole, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down that section of the law as being unconstitutional.

Moore said he began his campaign to clear his name in 1983 with a letter to then Justice minister Mark McGuigan.

"I got a 10-minute meeting," but no results, said Moore.

He didn't stop there. Moore has dealt with justice ministers and their staff through two governing parties.

And even though the law under which he was convicted was ruled unconstitutional, he has been unsuccessful in having his conviction overturned.

"They (justice department officials) keep telling me there is nothing new" to warrant intervention in his conviction, he said.

Moore said he gets the feeling from his dealings with just ice department officials that they feel any relief granted him would have to be applied to anyone else who was convicted under the unconstitutional law.

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