28 August 2007

Truscott, finally acquitted of the 1959 murder of Lynn Harper

UPDATED in bold:

"Steven Murray Truscott, I have no alternative but to pass the following sentence upon you.The Jury have found you guilty after a fair trial. The sentence of this court upon you is that you be taken from here to the place from whence you came, and there be kept in close confinement, until Tuesday, the 8th of December, 1959, and upon that date, you be taken to the place of execution, and that there you be hanged by the neck until you are dead. May God have mercy on your soul."

This judge, who pronounced this sentence upon a fourteen year old boy, was the same judge who in charging the jury put forward his own unsubstantiated theory, one that was never put forward or proven, and told the jury they could consider that Steven went back, and killed the girl later. During deliberations the jury asked for clarification on this very point, and the judge repeated this very error. When the defence attorney objected, the judge said, "Well somebody had to go back and kill her." [As explained to Puff by Bear]

In case anyone is wondering: in Canada, judges are not allowed to put forward their own theories, most especially unsubstantiated theories. Not even the Crown suggested that SMT went back to kill her. So after the jury finds him guilty because of the judge's charge, he then sentences the child to death by hanging.

The National Post Story has been edited to take into account other events. I have therefore edited the excerpts from the newspaper article: Quotations are italicised.
In a unanimous 303-page decision released Tuesday, the Ontario Court of Appeal concluded the pillars of the original case against Mr. Truscott had collapsed under the weight of fresh evidence unearthed in the past decade.
The court threw out his conviction and, after deciding it would be impossible to order a new trial 48 years after Lynne's death, entered an acquittal.

" 'The appellant [Mr. Truscott] in this case served ten years in the penitentiary and has lived his entire adult life in the shadow of a conviction that we have concluded must be quashed as a miscarriage of justice," the court wrote.
While the acquittal is a victory for Mr. Truscott, the five judges presiding at the case stopped short of satisfying his lawyers' plea that the court declare Mr. Truscott innocent.
" 'The appellant [Mr. Truscott] has not demonstrated his factual innocence,' the judges wrote. 'To do so would be a most daunting task absent definitive forensic evidence such as DNA. Despite the appellant's best efforts, that kind of evidence is not available.' Ontario Attorney-General Michael Bryant said the Crown would not appeal the ruling.
"Mr. Truscott was barely a teenager when he was sentenced to hang for the rape and murder of Lynne, who vanished from a Clinton, Ont., air force base June 9, 1959. Authorities found her body two days later in a wooded grove near the base. She had been strangled with her blouse."

Other reports quote the report as saing that if he were to be tried again, he would likely be acquitted. He should have been acquitted 48 years ago. The next phase of this case, the Justices of the Ontario Court of Appeal will now look at compensation.

When asked about any possible compensation, Mr Truscott, said, he never thought about money, it was always about clearing his name and getting his name back. After he got out of prison, he lived under an assumed name, and only until recently did his sons names change to Truscott. Mr. Truscott, would like the Ontario government to give him back his name without his asking for it, since they were the reason he lost it.

Get the whole National Post story here: "Murder acquittal a 'dream come true' for Truscott ."


This is the main reason why I disagree with the death penalty.

Unfortunately, the person who did rape and murder 12 year old Lynn Harper, got away with it.

For all the errors in the crown's case, that resulted this travesty, see the site : Until you are Dead: Steven Truscott's Long Ride into History, especially the "Evidence Room"

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