Donald Marshall, Jr.
(13 September 1953 – 6 August 2009) was a Mi'kmaq
man who was wrongly convicted
of murder. The case inspired a number of disturbing questions about the fairness of the Canadian
justice system, especially given that Marshall was an Aboriginal
; as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
put it, "The name Donald Marshall is almost synonymous with 'wrongful conviction' and the fight for native justice in Canada." The case inspired the book and film Justice Denied
. His father, Donald Marshall, Sr., was grand chief of the Mi'kmaq Nation at the time.
Marshall was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering acquaintance Sandy Seale in 1971. Marshall (age 17) and Seale (age 17) had been walking around Wentworth Park in Sydney, Nova Scotia
during the late evening with the intent to "roll a drunk" as stated in his trial. They confronted Roy Ebsary, an older man they encountered in the park. A short scuffle occurred and Seale fell mortally wounded by a knife blow which Ebsary delivered. Ebsary admitted that he had stabbed Seale but then lied about his role to the police who immediately focused on Marshall, who was 'known to them' from previous incidents. Police speculated that Marshall, in a rage for some reason, had murdered Seale. From the beginning, the system seemed determined to prove that Marshall was... Read More