Glen Assoun, the Nova Scotia man who spent almost 17 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, stands outside Supreme Court in Halifax on Friday, July 12, 2019. A police watchdog in British Columbia will investigate whether RCMP in Nova Scotia broke the law when they destroyed evidence in the case of Glen Assoun, who was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1999. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Glen Assoun, the Nova Scotia man who spent almost 17 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, stands outside Supreme Court in Halifax on Friday, July 12, 2019. A police watchdog in British Columbia will investigate whether RCMP in Nova Scotia broke the law when they destroyed evidence in the case of Glen Assoun, who was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1999. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

B.C. watchdog to investigate whether police broke the law in Glen Assoun case

He spent nearly 17 years in prison for a murder conviction the Supreme Court overturned in 2019

A police watchdog in British Columbia will investigate whether RCMP in Nova Scotia broke the law when evidence was destroyed in the case of Glen Assoun, who was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1999.

A news release today from Nova Scotia’s police oversight agency says the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. will also look at whether members of the Halifax Regional Police committed criminal offences in relation to Assoun’s conviction.

Assoun spent nearly 17 years in prison for the murder of Brenda Way before a Nova Scotia Supreme Court ruling in March 2019 overturned his conviction.

Last September, the Nova Scotia justice minister asked the province’s Serious Incident Response Team to investigate whether there was criminal misconduct by the police in the period before the appeal.

Today’s release says SIRT director Felix Cacchione determined the investigation should be handled by the investigations office in B.C., “in the interest of transparency.”

The release says the probe will begin “in the near future” and members of the B.C. team will travel to Nova Scotia as necessary.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 25, 2021.