Project Censored header EDITEDFINAL

Hear students discuss under-reported news on CJTR's Human Rights Radio

Tim Bousquet, an investigative journalist and founder of The Halifax Examiner, an independent online journal, has conducted an in-depth investigation into the conviction of Glen Assoun, whose case is under review as a possible wrongful conviction.

The Examiner’s investigation sheds light on at least 22 similar unsolved murders of women in the Halifax area that occurred while Assoun was imprisoned.

Assoun, who has always maintained his innocence, was found guilty in 1999 of second degree murder in the death of his ex-girlfriend Brenda Way and sentenced to 18 years in prison. After Assoun had served more than 16 years in prison, a preliminary review of his conviction found that “there may be reasonable basis to conclude that a miscarriage of justice likely occurred.” The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted is acting as his council, and Assoun was released from custody into house arrest while his conviction is investigated by federal officials.

Investigating the case of Assoun has led Bousquet to discover the disturbing trend of unsolved murders of women in the Halifax area, with many of these murders showing similarities to the murder of Brenda Way. Chronicled in his series on The Halifax Examiner, titled “Dead Wrong”, Bousquet sheds light on the fact that “over the past decades, dozens of women and girls have been murdered in the Halifax area, and due in part to botched and incompetent police investigations, many of those murders remain unsolved.” Bousquet also highlights the broader issues of violence and injustice within society these murders reveal, because several of these murdered women were on the margins of society, working in the sex trade.

While the review of Glen Assoun’s conviction has received corporate media attention (CTV, Global, National Post, The Toronto Star, etc.), the connection to the trend of unsolved murders of women in Halifax has not. If Assoun’s conviction is overturned, Brenda Way will be one of the unsolved murder cases of a woman involved in the sex trade. Bousquet’s coverage goes beyond corporate media coverage by delving into the implications of a possible wrongful conviction, and investigating the trend of unsolved murders of women and girls and the broader implications of those unsolved murders. The last in-depth investigation into the trend of unsolved murders in Halifax was in 1991, conducted in a series called “Unsolved Murders” by Rob Roberts for the Halifax Daily News.

 

Sources:

Tim Bousquet, “Dead Wrong”, The Halifax Examiner, January 29 2016, https://www.halifaxexaminer.ca/featured/dead-wrong-collector-page/

Jesse Brown, “Ep. 123- The Unsolved Murders of Halifax”, Canadaland, February 28 2016, http://canadalandshow.com/podcast/unsolved-murders-halifax

Canadian Press, “Glen Eugene Assoun granted bail as murder conviction reviewed”, CBC News, November 24 2014, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/glen-eugene-assoun-granted-bail-as-murder-conviction-reviewed-1.2846671

Halifax Police, “Major Unsolved Cases”, http://www.halifax.ca/police/UnsolvedMurders/MajorUnsolvedCrimes.php.

Rob Roberts, “Unsolved Murders Part 1-6”, Daily News, November 1991.

 

Student Researcher: Joelle Seal (University of Regina)

Faculty Evaluator: Patricia Elliot (University of Regina)

 

About this project

“Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.”
—Walter Cronkite

The School of Journalism's Top 25 Under-Reported Stories was developed in partnership with Project Censored. Project Censored was founded in 1976 as part of a media literacy course in Sonoma, California. Today it is operated by the Media Freedom Foundation. Hundreds of students across the U.S. and around the world contribute information about under-reported stories. Every year, the Media Freedom Foundation picks 25 to publish in their annual book. Project Censored on the Web.