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Canada Henry's release based on the likelihood of success of appeal

Ivan Henry, who says he has been in prison for 26 years for crimes he did not commit, was released last week for his appeal despite reports that he suffers from personality disorders.

The decision to allow Mr. Henry to be released from a medium-security prison was based primarily on the likelihood of success of his appeal, Mr. Justice P. D. Lowry, of the B.C. Court of Appeal, stated in a nine-page ruling.

"The Crown accepts there are serious issues that have arisen in respect of the conviction which could lead to it being set aside," Judge Lowry wrote. "That, it seems to me, amounts to an acknowledgment [Mr. Henry]appears to have a strong case to be argued."

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Mr. Henry has been in custody since July 29, 1982, when he was arrested after a string of attacks against women in Vancouver. He was convicted of rape and indecent assault involving eight women and declared a dangerous offender in 1983. The B.C. Court of Appeal agreed earlier this year to reopen the case.

In ruling that Mr. Henry should be released, Judge Lowry said several psychiatric and psychological assessments of Mr. Henry had been completed. "He is reported to suffer from personality disorders that leave him seriously dysfunctional in interpersonal relationships and in society in general," the judge stated.

However, a psychiatric report last month noted that Mr. Henry, at 62, was well past his prime for offending and there was no information suggesting a continuing pattern of aggression or violence.

Judge Lowry decided that his release would be manageable with conditions that included electronic monitoring.

"I do not consider this a case in which a fair-minded consideration of the circumstances would [lead to]a loss of confidence in the administration of justice," the judge stated.

Judge Lowry's decision was issued on June 12. However, he imposed a publication ban at the request of both Mr. Henry and the prosecution. He lifted the ban this week after both sides abandoned their opposition to the restriction.

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