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Robert Mailman and Walter Gillespie were sentenced to life in prison for a murder they did not commit.

Judicial error: New Brunswick negotiates

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Robert Mailman (left) and Walter Gillespie (right) leaving the Saint-Jean courthouse , in New Brunswick, January 4.

The Canadian Press

Negotiations are underway between the government of New Brunswick and the two men recently exonerated of a murder that occurred in 1983 in order to pay them a compensation, their lawyers said

Ron Dalton, co-president of Innocence Canada, the organization that represents Robert Mailman and Walter Gillespie, says discussions began last week. A member of the lawyers' team described them as successful.

Sarah Bustard, spokesperson for Justice Minister Ted Flemming, confirmed that negotiations were underway. However, she added that the provincial government and Innocence Canada had agreed to keep the content confidential.

Robert Mailman, 76, and Walter Gillespie, 80, were acquitted of murder on January 4 by New Brunswick Court of King's Bench Chief Justice Tracey DeWare .

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She later said the justice system had failed the two men.

Robert Mailman and Walter Gillespie were sentenced to life in prison in 1984 after being convicted of murdering a Saint John man.

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Ron Dalton (right), of Innocence Canada, and Walter Gillespie (front), January 4 in Saint John.

The Prime Minister Blaine Higgs said last month he intended to seek advice on the decision. He also promised to eventually do the right thing.

Mr. Dalton hopes that these negotiations will quickly reach an agreement since Mr. Mailman suffers from terminal liver cancer. In November, doctors gave him only three months to live.

His companion in misfortune lives on a meager pension in a hotel room converted into an apartment.

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Walter Gillespie in his Saint-Jean apartment on January 9.

Mr. Mailman grew weaker by the day, Mr. Dalton said.

His spirit remained imperturbable. He will fight until the end. But we know well, and he knows it very well too, that the end is getting closer and closer, he says.

According to him, the government has no reason to wait even longer before paying compensation to the two men.

We can reach a deal within a few days. There is no reason why this month should end without an agreement.

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