After losing the woman he loved and hoped to marry one day, Robert – an innocent man – spent eight years in prison for her murder. In his own words, Robert lived through an “eighteen-year nightmare.”
Robert Baltovich’s life was turned upside down on June 19, 1990, when his girlfriend, Elizabeth Bain, went missing. Her car was eventually recovered but Elizabeth’s body has never been found. Robert was devastated. He loved Elizabeth deeply, and thought that the two would get married someday. Purely on circumstantial evidence, Robert was arrested on November 19th, 1990, and charged with Elizabeth’s murder. Robert was convicted on March 31, 1992. He was sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for the next 17 years.
On March 31, 2000, Robert was granted bail pending the hearing of his appeal. Eight years after his wrongful conviction, Robert was finally out of jail.
The Ontario Court of Appeal agreed that Robert’s trial had been unfair. The Court also agreed that the trial judge had not given the jury “adequate instructions with respect to the eyewitness identification evidence” of the two key Crown witnesses. Robert’s trial judge failed to point out a number of concerns, surrounding the reliability of these two eyewitness testimonies, to the jury members. The Court of Appeal concluded that these errors “could have affected the verdict,” especially in the context of the trial judge’s biased statements suggesting that he believed that Robert was guilty.
On April 22, 2008, the Prosecution did not call any evidence at Robert’s retrial and he was acquitted.