Sunday, April 16, 2006

Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online:

I have always been a determined person in the past, still am, and shall continue to be in the future. My curiosity, and search for the truth, are the elements that permeates my space in my day to day existence. You are probably wondering what I am ranting and raving about this time.

Firstly, as I have echoed many times, I am a federalist at heart. We are governed by a constitution and a Charter of Rights. I respect that, as should any citizen of the country. You have seen me allude many times to our Charter of Rights as our protection shield for our citizens. You have also witnessed me speaking out when the Charter is used in a temerarious fashion, and thus, taking advantage of the weak. In my view, when this happens, it completely undermines all the rules pertaining to fair play and security of our citizens.

On numerous occasions our justice system in Canada has been allowed to become ragged. Specifically, I am talking about criminal justice. There have been far too many graphic examples of justice gone horribly wrong in this country. Wrongful convictions, often resulting in long periods of incarceration have been rampant. On a much uglier scale, people have been sent to the gallows as a result of sloppy and shoddy prosecution, coupled with the fact of incompetent and inept legal defense.

Over the years I have devoted many hours to the Steven Truscott case. Steven Truscott's dilemma in my view, is without doubt, a classic example of the tall and mighty stepping on the weak, and then scraping him from the soles of their boots, and all the while declaring that justice has been done. Fortunately, Steven Truscott, even though sentenced to do so, was not executed, thanks to the prime minister of the day who recognized that an injustice had taken place and commuted the death sentence to life in prison. Nearly fifty years later Steven Truscott is still facing an uphill battle to clear his name. This complete mess is the result of a sloppy, shoddy, and most unethical application of our justice system.

In the next few days, I shall be writing on what I consider another ugly scene from the criminal justice system of our country. This particular incident took place in rural Quebec only four years previous to the Steven Truscott case.

There will no doubt be many of you who have not heard the name of the subject in this particular incident. His name is Wilbert Coffin. Mr. Coffin was charged and convicted of the charge of murder and was also sentenced to death by hanging. Unfortunately for Mr. Coffin, his sentence was not overtuned, and as well, his death sentence was not commuted. He was executed in 1955 in Montreal.

As a result of my research, I shall be outlining to you pertinent facts of the case, including evidence brought forward at trial by the prosecution, and as well, the methods used to put the so called evidence together. You will see results of personal intervention by the then premier of Quebec with reference to the arrest and prosecution. You will also see what effect an inept drunken defense lawyer has on a first degree murder trial. When all is said and done, I leave it up to you, the reader, to determine the answer to the question as to whether mr. Coffin should have been found guilty and executed.

I am in the process of securing interviews with family members of Wilbert Coffin, as well as some public officials who are still alive. I hope to be able to post the first part of a two part series on Thursday, April 20, 2006. As is always the case with this web page, you are cordially invited to offer your comments, suggestions, and e-mails on this dark side of Canadian history.

I do not like these stories, they bring tears to my eyes. Canadians should be aware of these incidents however, as these stories represent Canadian citizens who have been trodden by other Canadian citizens, who twist the system and tailor it to support their own agenda.

Lew Stoddard
Posted to site April 16, 2006


Cynthia Laronde said...

Mr. Stoddard,
You write about interesting things, things that I do not know about, but I sure say Thank You. I read all the writings that you did about Mr. Truscott, didnt know anything about it, but since have looked up lots. I had no idea. I feel for he and his family and am anxious to hear about this Mr. Coffin from Quebec.

I am a high school teacher, and things like this ties in nicely with certain projects.

Cynthia Laronde
Valleyfield, PQ

Dean Cassidy said...

Lew Stoddard,

I am well aware of the case of Wilbert Coffin. An innocent man went to the gallows here. have studied this over and over many times over the years.

Dean Cassidy
St. Jerome, PQ

S Davenport said...

Thank you for talking about these things, as otherwise they get firgotten with time and they should not. Keep up the good work mr. Stoddard.

S. Davenport
Shediac, New Brunswick

C. Gautier said...

Hello Sir,

I am from the Gaspe region, and Wilbert Coffin was from the Gaspe. He will always be our hero and he was a martyr as well. Thank you sir for writing about him.

C Gautier
Matapedia, PQ

Bob Murdock said...

Anxiously awaiting your posting on the Wilbert Coffin affair. Read with interest your writings on Steven Truscott. You speak loudly sir, but you speak to be heard. Very good quality. You are obviously a very sensitive person as well.

Bob Murdock
Dauphin, Manitoba

G. Fullerton said...

You are entitled to your writings and opinions, but really, what difference does it make now. Mr. Coffin was executed, you can't change that now.

Gordie Fullerton
Parksville, British Columbia

G Geddes said...


You are quite correct, they are black marks on our society. We have to right the wrongs, and do it now. Has gone on long enough.

G Geddes
Summerside, PEI

Thomas McQuarrie said...

I do not make a habit of watching or listening to news. I read a few sites on the internet and obviously I look at this one. My pleasure comes from watching sports and playing online games, and staying in the real world.

You get so up tight about everything, that is why I dont pay any attention to most things. Ok maybe someone got executed that shouldn't have, so why not drop the issue now.

The politicians always do it their way, I cant change that so I don't bother voting, just let them carry on. Loosen up a bit sir.

Thomas McQuarrie
Owen Sound, Ontario

Lew Stoddard said...

Mr. McQuarrie,

Not certain that your comment should be dignified with a response, however, in the name of therapy, I decided to respond.

Firstly, if you had a son, daughter, brother, or sister that had been executed through no fault of their own, do I read you correctly, that you would be willing to sit idly by and allow it to happen without a fight?

You state that you do not vote, that politicians always have it their way, and that you can't do anything about it. You obviously have some complaints with the system, so you might want to try getting your butt off the sofa from watching sports all day and getting out and voting in the next election, that is providing those online video games have not permanently fried your brain.

Whatever your moans and groans are all about, if you don't get out and vote, then you deserve a double measure next time around.

Lew Stoddard

Molly Albright said...

The stuff that you write about Sir is material that we as Canadians definitely should familiarize ourselves with. Whether we like it or not, these events are now part of our history as a nation, and people have a right to know, and a duty to learn.

You say it strongly, but with a definite degree of compassion.

Molly Albright
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Candice M said...

Missed your editorials for the past few days, but I knew there would appear someting of interest, and the Wilbert Coffin situation definitely fills that role. Because of my age, I must say that my knowledge of the affair is somewhat limited, however, my elderly Dad certainly is aware of the situation. He is waiting to read this as well.

Candice McLean
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Bill W said...

Keep up the good work Sir, and keep the information coming.

Bill Westie
Richmond Hill, Ontario

Claude D said...

You are articulate and an energetic soul to put forth your upcoming editorial to a group or readers, that for the most part have probably never even heard of Wilbert Coffin.

I have lived in Quebec for all my life and have been employed in the legal profession. Yes, I do agree with you. This is a black mark on the criminal justice system, as is the Steven Truscott story and all those others who were wrongly convicted and thrown into jail and forgotten about.

I am sending you a separate e-mail Lew, which suggests where you may find some additional information regarding Mr. Coffin's case.

Claude Desmarais
Pointe Claire, PQ

Bob K said...

Lew Stoddard,

Am a relative newcomer to your site, was directed here through another link a few weeks ago. You write with determination and drive. You are uniquely Canadian, a good quality I might add. Keep up the good work Sir.

Bob Ketchum
Halifax, Nova scotia

Susan Johnstone said...

Mr. Stoddard,

I am disappointed with your constant reference to The Charter Of Rights in Canada. Without coming out and saying it, it is evident that you are obviously a believer of Christianity, and yet you say that the Charter provides for freedom of belief. I get the distinct feeling that you personally endorse God, and that is your right I guess, but why does it appear that you tie it in with the Charter of Rights if other beliefs are provided for?

Susan Johnstone,
Kentville, Nova Scotia

Lew Stoddard said...


That is an excellent question that you ask, why does it appear that I tie belief in God in reference to The Charter of Rights?

I am not going to answer that question myself, I will let the Charter Of Rights answer it for you, since it is really a Charter question.

Here is the very first line of the Canadian Charter Of Rights, and I quote. . . "Whereas Canada Is Founded Upon Principles That Recognize The Supremacy Of God And The Rule Of Law:"

So you see Susan, the Charter, when given a chance, does a grand job of providing answers to questions pertaining to the Charter itself. Thank you for your question, Susan

Lew Stoddard

Dana M said...

This is scary stuff. I just did some research and I discover that well over 1000 people have been executed since Canada became a country.

When I hear about things like Mr. Coffin and of course Steven Truscott, as well as all those others who have since been found not guilty and freed, I am wondering how many innocent people have been executed. This is most horrible. It makes me cry to think about it.

I am now 27 and my older brother showed me this stuff, and they never talked about things like that in school. I can understand why the government should be embarassed, but we have to correct these things where we can.

Dana McIntyre
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

Scott M said...


Again, you have hit upon a good topic for discussion. Ugly topic yes it is, but it did happen in Canada, to a Canadian, by Canadians.

If Wilbert Coffin was not guilty, then he paid the ultimate price, and for what? Was it carried out to make a corrupt system look good? I believe it was.

Scott McAlpine
Ottawa, Ontario

Brendan W said...

Where were all these high speed lawyers of the day. You know the ones who were always around to make a name for themselves. Why did not one of them step in and assist Mr. Coffin or Steven Truscott? They are all willing to make comments years after the fact. Talk is real cheap.

Brendan Wilson
Sarnia, Ontario

Fred N said...

As the lawyers always say, It is far better for a thousand guilty to go free than it is for one innocent person to go to the gallows.

Apparently the government does not see it this way though.

Fred Newcombe
Moncton, new Brunswick

Jim Sanders said...

Have taken the time to do a bit of research on Mr. Wilbert Coffin. Truly, he has been forgotten with time. His surviving family members must be seething with anger, and understandably so.

Jim Sanders
Whitehorse, Yukon

Sean Dumont said...

Let us not forget the fact that we as Canadians pride ourselves in the fact that we are supposedly a country that portrays our system as a showcase for other countries of the world.

We teach other regimes how to run elections, free up a democratic process, and eliminate attrocities of citizens.

With our track record in criminal justice, are we not showcasing a system, hip deep in hypocrisy?

Sean Dumont
Toronto, Ontario

Carrie S said...

No system is perfect, but if there is a hint that some may be bowled over in the process, then the system needs to change.

Carrie Swanson
Grade 12, Calgary, Alberta

Cory baird said...

hey man, this is good. a webb page just sitting here waiting for a guy like me to say my opinion, and you actually post it for the world to read. thanks.

i am in high school..actually waiting for the school year to end,you know how it is,then party time for summer

I did read some of your articles and even since i am young and dumb by most adult standards i mostly agree with what you said. you know man my great grandpa died in the war, i never got to meet him, that is sad, so hey people listen to a dumb teenager and dont mess up a great country

mr. stoddard sorry to take up your space but also thank you for letting me tell you my opinion. bye for now,

Cory Baird
Brandon manitoba

Retired Criminal Justice Bureaucrat said...

Lew Stoddard,

If more journalists had written and kept up some pressure on the system over the years like you do, then maybe situations like Mr. Truscott's and Mr. Coffin's would have been concluded years ago.

Don't give up the ship Sir. Roll with the waves.

Retired Criminal Justice Bureaucrat
Quebec, PQ

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