Inside a mother’s struggle to clear her name after a wrongful arrest

By Analysis by The Big Story Podcast

In today’s Big Story Podcast, 27-year old Breeanna Bascombe was trying to rock her infant daughter to sleep when police descended on her parents’ Brampton, Ont., home to arrest her, and charge her as an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder. The charge was related to a crime allegedly committed by her ex-boyfriend that she had nothing to do with. Breeanna thinks her very public arrest was an attempt to coax him out of hiding.

Eternity Martis is a journalist and author based in Toronto who wrote about Breeanna’s case for Chatelaine. She says women can often be caught up in investigations when a crime is committed by a man in their life

“It’s not uncommon … for girlfriends, mothers, to be arrested in the hopes of getting a confession from them about their partners crimes, even when they’re not related, they haven’t done anything,” says Martis.

Eventually, Breeanna’s charges were stayed, but she was left with what’s called a ‘non-conviction,’ which can remain on your record in perpetuity and negatively impact your ability to work, travel or even adopt a pet. And her story is far from unique; in Ontario, around half the people charged with crimes end up with non-conviction records.

So why are so many innocent women being caught up in the Canadian criminal justice system? How do we prevent it? And is there any way for them to get their lives back?

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