Saturday, September 16, 2006

Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online Continued from part ten. . . .

Captain Alphonse Matte was a troubled man. True, the past sixteen days had taken it's toll on Wilbert Coffin, however, Matte was no further ahead than he was prior to bringing Wilbert Coffin to the Quebec City jail. In spite of all the torturous treatment hurled in his direction, the English prospector, Wilbert Coffin, from the wilds of the Gaspe' Peninsula showed no signs of breaking. This was not good. It would not sit well with solicitor general Antoine Rivard, and premier Maurice Duplesis. Matte was the top cop. He knew all the tactics, so there would be no excuses. Why then did Wilbert Coffin still have a smile on his face, and Matte had no confession?

The month of August 1953 was fast approaching conclusion. There was a public inquest scheduled for August 27 in Gaspe', so it would be necessary for Captain Matte and his prisoner to return to the peninsula. It would certainly have been a whole lot easier if the Captain were able to return with a confessed murderer in tow. That was not to be, however, the Captain was not throwing in the towel just yet. Plan "A" may have failed, however, plan "B" was already in the works.

Upon their return to Gaspe', Captain Matte made the decision to hold Wilbert Coffin in custody. In reality, and in legal context, Wilbert Coffin should have been freed from custody. There was no confession on his part, nor had Captain Matte managed to acquire evidence that would point to Wilbert Coffin's guilt. Equally important, is the fact that no evidence was uncovered during the interrogations that would implicate Wilbert Coffin as one with knowledge of the crime of murder in the Gaspe' woods. True, Wilbert Coffin had in his possession some minor items that he had admitted to taking from the victims truck in the forest, however, it is important to note that the knowledge of these items had come about as a result of Wilbert's voluntary admission to Sgt. Henri Doyon of the Quebec Provincial Police. In no way, was this fact uncovered as a result of any police investigation. He had done this purely to advance the investigation of the three victims, and to cooperate fully with the search for the bodies of the two younger victims. It should further be noted that if robbery had been in the mind of Wilbert Coffin, then why would he have left behind items with a far superior value than those which he had in his possession? In spite of all this, Wilbert Coffin would remain a prisoner of the province of Quebec. Captain Alphonse Matte was again calling the shots.

There is an old adage that says,"we get what we pay for'" True words? Yes they are. The same rule applies whether we are purchasing a product, or purchasing a professional service. Wilbert Coffin's legal defense lends credence to this.

Donald Coffin, to his credit recognized early on when Wilbert was arrested that his brother was badly in need of legal advice. Donald employed the services of local lawyer Alphonse Garneau Jr. to look after Wilbert's interests. Mr. Garneau tried without success to gain access to his client. This was denied as Captain Matte stated that Wilbert currently was not charged with anything, and thus, they would not allow the lawyer to speak to him. Mr. Garneau sent Wilbert a telegram, however, it was intercepted by Captain Raoul Sirois, and he would later state that he personally delivered it to Premier Maurice Duplessis, and as a result , it doesn't take a mountain of intelligence to deduce that the telegram never reached the hands of the intended recipient. Mr. Garneau's tenure as Wilbert Coffin's lawyer was short lived. As soon as Wilbert was moved to Quebec, Donald Coffin, and Bill Baker, who was co-owner of the Baker Hotel advised Mr. Garneau that he was no longer the lawyer for Wilbert Coffin. Presumably, the decision to terminate Garneau was because of his inability to prevent Wilbert Coffin being moved to Quebec.

The search was now on for a replacement lawyer for Wilbert Coffin. The new lawyer would emerge through an unusual chain of events. Research shows that Albert Coffin, the father of Wilbert was a superintendent in forestry operations in the Gaspe' region. Through the forestry industry, Albert knew a lumberman on the Gaspe' coast named Maher. Though now living in Quebec City, Mr. Maher approached Albert Coffin and informed him that he had a son named Raymond who had graduated from law school four years previous. He suggested that Raymond may be able to render much needed assistance for his son. Raymond had impressive credentials and appeared to be part of the higher echelon of Quebec City life. As well, Raymond was not an unknown in the Gaspe' area, as he also knew Bill Baker. What was unknown though to Albert Coffin, was the fact that Raymond Maher's father had close personal ties to Premier Maurice Duplessis, and as well, was a staunch supporter of The Union Nationalle Party, as was son Raymond. There is room for speculation here. There is also room to ask the question, Was this a cooked up deal? Was it a planned calculated ploy, or was it coincidential? You be the judge, however, you will learn very quickly in the story there are many events that lend support to the calculated ploy theory.

Throughout this story, you will recall that I have repeatedly exposed many twists and turns. August 27, 1953 would be another of those days in the life and saga of Wilbert Coffin. Little did Wilbert know, the biggest and deadliest snare of all was being set for him on this day. This time, Captain Matte and crew would control the trap. The way that it had been set up, there could be only one winner, and that would be Premier Maurice Duplessis, represented by Captain Alphonse Matte and his crew.

This would be the day that a new player in the drama would arrive on the scene. Coincidentially, this was also the day that Dr. Lionel Rioux, the area coroner would hold his public inquest. The new player on the scene was none other than Noel Dorion, a deputy attorney general with the province of Quebec. Mr. Dorion shared a close political and personal alliance with Premier Maurice Duplessis, and thus, he would assume the role of chief prosecutor.

In the normal course of events, the prosecutor comes on the scene after evidence is collected and a formal charge is recommended to the crown. It is then the responsibility of that prosecutor to put the facts of a case together and carry it through to the court room in an effort to gain a conviction for the crown, in this case, the province of Quebec. This case would be different. One could easily put forth the argument that a sense of normality was seriously lacking from day one, and therefore, to expect anything different would be a total disappointment.

Dr. Rioux had the plans for his public inquest all laid out. Looking ahead, he was certain that the results of the inquest would allay all the rumours and misconceptions around the area about the case. He was going to publicly question Wilbert Coffin, whom he was certain was innocent of the crime. This would help to restore to the community, belief that Wilbert Coffin was innocent and that the real killers still lurked out there in the shadows. Dr. Rioux had personally sought and hand picked six responsible people from the area to act as inquest jurors. The jury was made up of Lloyd Annett, Lewis Miller, Owen Patterson, Gabriel Bernard, Wharrel Annett, and Lloyd Kruse. This assembly, guided by Dr. Lionel Rioux would be the panel that would decide the verdict after the inquest evidence was presented. If this sounds routine, I suggest that you read on.

As stated earlier, the prosecutor normally comes into the picture after evidence has been collected and studied, and recommendations to the crown have been made by the investigating authorities. Not this time though. Remember, we are talking back woods justice here, where manipulation is the order of the day. Without doubt, superlatives to describe the events of what you are about to read are lacking in Webster's dictionary. Prior to commencement of the proceedings, Prosecutor Noel Dorion approaches Dr. Rioux and informs him emphatically, he is not to put Wilbert Coffin on the inquest witness stand.

The hour has arrived for Dr. Lionel Rioux. It is now time for Dr. Rioux to stand tall, and inform prosecutor Dorion to shut up, get out of the way, sit down, or get his butt out of the court room. Dr. Rioux takes this route, right? I suggest you read on. Dr. Rioux is about to display the fact that as coroner and leader, in my view, he was not capable of carrying out his oath of office which stated that he would conduct a fair and impartial hearing. Dr. Rioux would have quickly assessed his situation. The question in his mind would quite probably have been, do I bend to Dorion's request which he did not agree with, or do I send him packing, and risk my job position? Dr. Rioux chose to take the weak route, and as a result, Wilbert Coffin was denied the chance to explain his movements pertaining to any evidence against him.

Throughout this exchange, Raymond Maher, the new defense lawyer did little to sway the decision. It was largely left to be an exchange between the presiding coroner, and the prosecutor who had no legal right to be there presenting arguments in the first place. This inquest was representative of the case thus far from the beginning, a complete sham.

Wilbert Coffin was denied hearing much of the inquest evidence. For much of the time he was held outside in the parking lot in a police car attended by three police officers. When he was allowed to be in the inquiry room, he was seated amongst spectators. This way, public perception would not be that he was in custody. During the course of the inquest, Albert Coffin, the father of Wilbert, would request that he be able to speak with his son. He had after all, been denied permission to speak with Wilbert since prior to the police taking him to Quebec City. Surprizingly, Captain Matte, after considering the request, granted permission for a father and son conversation, however, he gave orders to the attending constables that they were to eavesdrop on the conversation, and report the contents back to him. This conversation will be revealed later in the story as the crown presents it as evidence at the upcoming trial.

All was finally said and done, the inquest jury had heard the evidence presented. It was now time for the jury to retire to the jury room to consider the verdict. Prosecutor Noel Dorion and Captain Alphonse Matte were riding high. They had managed to control this proceeding from the onset. They could wait a few more minutes for the finality of it all. They were confident that the jury would return soon with a finding conducive with their overall plan.

Finally the climax of the day was upon the inquest setting. In simple language, the verdict rendered was not what Noel Dorion and Captain Alphonse Matte wanted to hear. The verdict merely identified the three victims, and went on to state that all three met their deaths in a way that was unnatural, and met their deaths, at the hands of a person or persons unknown. Prosecutor Noel Dorion sprang to action. He demanded from coroner Lionel Rioux that he be allowed to address the jury away from the ears of the public. Defense lawyer Raymond Maher on the other hand, made no objections whatsoever. He probably did not care . It is documented that for the most part, he was drunk at the proceedings anyway. He merely stated that he would accept whatever decision was made with reference to Noel Dorion addressing the jury.

In any legal proceeding, the jury room is that special enclosure set apart from the everyday activities of life. It is private, it is secure, and for the most part, it is off limits to lawyers and officials, other than judges and presiding officers such as coroners who may have to clarify a point of law to a jury. This must be what it is like, because that is the way it looks on television. Again folks, read on, and you will see how a back woods coroner covers his butt when pushed into a tight spot.

Coroner Lionel Rioux, prosecutor Noel Dorion, and defense lawyer Raymond Maher accompanied the inquest jury back to the jury room. This jury room consisted of a blanket draped over a length of rope. Picture it this way folks. Most of us have attended as a patient to an emergency ward in a hospital at one time or another. They pull those sheets around you to shield your bed from the open areas, and as well, from the patient in the next bed. The sheet does not do a good job of shielding voices. You can hear the patient tell the doctor what he had for breakfast. That is the way the jury room was set up, in other words, nothing was secret.

Prosecutor Dorion tells the jury that he has in his pocket a paper, which states that Wilbert Coffin will be charged with murder, no matter what the finding of the jury would be. Of course, defense lawyer Maher will challenge Dorion to produce the paper, right? No, he does not. He merely states that he will accept any decision that is rendered. Again, coroner Lionel Rioux has his chance. Does he speak up? Not at all. Prosecutor Noel Dorion now takes complete control of the inquest process. He states that it is absolutely imperative that the jury reconsider it's verdict and return a decision that will implicate Wilbert Coffin as the perpetrator of this crime. The jury, like a flock of lost sheep, looked to the shepherd for guidance. Lionel Rioux, once again offers no resistence. The jury deliberates once again and the new verdict is then rendered. The jury finds that Richard Lindsey and Fred Claar, found dead in the woods of Gaspe', were murdered. It was the finding of the inquest jury that Wilbert Coffin be held responsible for these deaths.

The inquest in this case serves to remind what the results of a flawed process can wreak upon society, when a group of weak jurists, led by an inept public official, such as in this case, a public coroner, is allowed to flourish.

Lew Stoddard
Posted to site September 17, 2006

The next posting will detail the preliminary hearing at Perce, Quebec, and forward to the murder trial of Wilbert Coffin


Wanda mcRae said...

Mr. Stoddard I now see what role manipulation and lies had in this case. This is a complete travesty. It was a crooked deal right from day one. The biggest crooks of all were the police in this matter. You obviously have documentation for what you are saying, and I think it great that you are saying it so boldly. Keep up the good work Mr. Stoddard. You have obviously done a mountain of personal research on this.

Wanda McRae

C F T said...

Great stuff Lew. The story getting messy and brutal now. I wish you were wrong when you display the justice system as it was back then, but I know you are right, I know that as I lived in the tail end of that era in Quebec. Expose all the brutes from back then. They do not deserve to go undetected.

Rimouski, Quebec

D Meadows said...

An excellent piece of writing so far Lew. You are so graphic that I feel like I was in that inquest room that night.

D Meadows
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Marty said...

As I have said in the past. Give em Hell and pound them into submission.

Fort McMurray

Samuel W said...

Hello Mr. Stoddard,

I am a newcomer as far as posting is concerned on your site, but I have been reading it for some time.

Even though I do not live in your country, my home is not far away from where all this took place, and have been there numerous times. In this part of North America the invisable border does not limit one's interest to one particular area, but the area as a whole. The bottom line is the fact that we are all easterners.

I am aware of this case, and have always been of the opinion that Mr. Coffin was an innocent bystander, and a victim of bad government management. I do hope that you are able to prove this. Things like this need to be exposed, whether on your side of the border, or mine.

You are doing a great job on the story. I am a teacher, and we have used this event as discussion material for various debates over the years.

Thank you Sir, for a chance to express my views, and good luck to all concerned.

Samuel W
Fort Kent, Maine, USA

C Gautier said...


The internet is a wonderful teaching tool for instant awareness. I knew nothing of this case, I am too young to remember of course, but by accident I came across this site some months ago and have been following your story.

This is an incredible story that you write, and you do it well. I look forward to future postings of this event. You are articulate, and sensitive to the need to express it in terms understandable to most folks, young or old.

Hard to believe that a story of this nature would ever take place on Canadian soil, the land of opportunity, and the model of the world for fairness and love for fellow mankind.

Thank you Sir for all the time that you have devoted to this, and I am hopeful that it concludes to your satisfaction down the road with the exoneration of Wilbert Coffin.

C Gautier
Moncton, New Brunswick

D Pitney, Eastern Townships Region said...

Lew Stoddard,

My sincere apologies Sir. A few days ago I let down my guard and engaged in a verbal dialogue on this site that is not in keeping with my behaviour. I also wish to convey my apologies to Alton and Christine. I did not choose my words wisely. Lew, I do not blame you for stepping in and bringing the situation to a halt.

You are doing a fantastic job here and in no way, should childish behaviour undermine and compromise your objectives.

D Pitney
Sherbrook, Eastern Townships Region

Karen M said...

Hard to believe that not only a provincial government, but our senior governing body in this country, the federal government of Canada would ever allow such schnenagins to be part of our history. I read somewhere recently that we are a role model in this country for developing third world countries. . Hmmm. . are we talking about the same country in this story?

Karen M
Kitchener Waterloo area

Marie Ducharme said...

Lew Stoddard,

I too wish to convey my apologies for being so snittish on your site a few days ago. I also wish to convey my apologies to Christine for the "Ghost Writers" comment.

Lew when you mentioned being banished to the corner, it reminded me of many years ago when childish acts really was a ticket to the corner.

I enjoyed todays posting, as I do each and every one of them. Thank you for providing a venue for expressing opinions. You are quite correct, it is not, nor should it be, used for cheap personal attacks.

Marie Ducharme
Trois Riviere

T an M, Dawson City, Yukon Territory said...

Lew Stoddard,

Great posting today. To all the Coffin family, we are with you all the way up here in Dawson City, Yukon.

T an M
Dawson City, Yukon Territory

Marie Coffin, Wilberts sister said...

This is a letter of appeal to all Canadians. I am Marie, Wilbert Coffin's sister and I am begging everyone to write to the Provincial and Federal Government to have my brother's conviction investigated thoroughly, and finally have him declared innocent of this crime. My brother was not a murderer, he was incapable of doing such a deed. For fifty years, everytime I think of my brother, I picture him taking his last walk. a walk to the gallows to pay for a crime he did not do. I've walked the floor many hours and wondered how such an injustice could occur in Canada. Words cannot express my sadness, helplessness, and rage over this terrible,terrible injustice. So please, I'm begging everyone to get busy and write to the both Governments demanding that this be finally be looked into... and justice done. Thank you. Marie Coffin, Bill's sister. P.S. The address to send the letters to the gov't may be found on one of Lew's earlier postings,regarding my brother's case, on this site.

Anonymous said...

PS. Mom, Marie Coffin also wants to add her deepest gratitude to all those offering such wonderful support,and CONTINUING to send in information to help clear Uncle Bill's name, God Bless you all!

Anne Blake said...

I hope everyone who reads this site will heed my mom's plead and write the government. My mom,jimmy and all the family need to see the end off this horrible crime that was done to my family we have cried enough and had enough pain. This has to have a ending and a ending SOON. So i implore you please do what my mom has asked and demand the government do something. God Bless all and Thank you. Anne

Kim, Niece said...

Will add my plea to my mom's and sisters. The more people on board for this the better it will be. My mom, Jimmy, the entire family have had enough pain, enough anguish over this horrible injustice. It is time...time for the family to find some peace of mind, time to right the wrongs of the past, time for Uncle Bill's name to be restored. Please, everyone, take the 5 minutes it would take to write a letter adding your support to this cause. Thanks to everyone for all the comments and support, it is much appreciated by the entire family

Kim said...

To Mr. Stoddard,

Could you please post the addresses for the gov't offices that letters should be sent to again? Thank you

W. M. Stanley said...

Ladies and gentlemen of Canada:

My Name is Wendall Stanley, son of Rhoda Coffin sister to Wilbert Coffin.

This is the first time I have posted something on Mr. Stoddard’s site. I have always felt that this is a place for you, the public, to voice your own opinions and concerns about this case. I have been inspired and encouraged by the comments that you have been leaving here as well as by the new information that has been flowing in to Mr. Stoddard.

Over the past few months, in my spare time, I have been working on a web site. From it you will be able to print the petition that has been mentioned in previous comments. I was informed today that there have been just over 4,000 names collected in the Gaspe area.
Some of these signatures have already been presented to the House of Commons.

There will also be some sample letters that you can use to send to your Member of Parliament along with an easy to use link to find their mailing address.

Mr. Stoddard will be telling you about the opening of this site in a few days so please watch for the announcement.


G Lawson said...

Lies Lies Lies! This story is now taking on the appearance of dirty tricks, "Smorgasbord Style."

Hard to believe that the police and judiciary, the defenders of law and order in this country, could ever want to tarnish their image by stooping so low. It simply is below the morals of the lowest of the low.

Lew Stoddard, stick with this story. Expose everyone of these so and so's. Too bad that most of them have made an exit from life. I would love to see you make them squirm.

Mr. Harper, do your part and your duty now. Please listen and pay attention to what mr. Stoddard is telling you. You stated that you would clean up government and make it accountable to the people, well Sir, here is a starting point for you and all the members of parliament.

G Lawson
Owen Sound, Ontario

Anonymous said...

i live in gaspe when all this stuff happened an police woud come and just go in your home with out no permison andsearch youre things it was very scarry tobe a kid then. we were afraid sometimes and told notto talk about things.

i dont want to give my name on her but i live in gaspe

J McCormick said...

Keep digging Lew. You are making progress. The truth always wins out over lies and deceit.

Marie Coffin you are an angel, glad to see Lew is writing this story and uncovering lots of stuff. Am sure it is all going to come out in the end in a good way for all of you.

J McCormick
Wilmington, Delaware, USA

Margaret Sullivan said...

A Special message from Down Under

Hello Everyone,

Although we live far far away from Gaspe Canada, my hubby is originally from Nova Scotia province. He knew about this case prior to coming to Australia to live and was surprised to find this web site while looking for something else on the internet.

We have read all of your story from the beginning, and you know something like that could happen anywhere in the world. In our country we have had many cases as well of people getting treated unfairly in outback regions. Keep up the good work on the story and make the politicians listen to you.

Margaret Sullivan
Adelaide, South Australia

Celene Beauchamps said...

Lew Stoddard,

I read your work on here all the time, and hear you periodically on radio. You put up a good front, but Hey man, I know you have some health concerns right now. Are you doing what the good doctor tells you? Look after yourself.

Celene Beauchamps
Coquitlam, British Columbia

P. Larochelle said...

This story sounds as if all the authorities were in a demented crazed state.

I thought at first that you may be wrong or possibly editorializing, but now I am convinced that it is even worse than what you have said it was.

Canada huh. . . Hard to imagine. What a shameful act. I can certainly understand how this has taken a toll on the Coffin family.

P. Larochelle
Bristol, New Brunswick

Simon Comeau said...

I grow up in matane area of Quebec not too far from where this take place i remember terrible thing and we al knowed that bill coffin he not guilty

Simon Comeau
Riviere du Loup

Mario Cote said...

My father and mother knew mr and mrs Coffin. my father knew Albert Coffin from woods work in gaspe. they always said Wilbert did not do this as he also knew Wilbert Coffin and his brother too. duplessies caused this to be able to happen.

Mario Cote
Sept Iles

G Charest said...

Mr. Stoddard I like you to tell us about this stuff. you make people pay attention, that is good too. I never knew this happened like this.

G Charest
Chicoutimi, Quebec

Brent Newell said...

It deeply troubles me Sir that you continually slap the police in the face in this case.

Obviously you have never been close to a police investigation. The police have to use whatever tools they can muster to gain confessions and convictions.

Face facts Mr. Stoddard, I am challenging you to be able to put forth any evidence of police wrong doing in this case. I am saying Sir, You are all talk and no action.

It can be said that most of the evidence may have been circumstantial, but you can't prove that. You do write a very interesting story, but that is where it obviously ends. If one day you prove otherwise, and I hope that you do, I will be the first to jump up to applaud and sing praises.

Brent Newell
Saskatoon, Sask

Lew Stoddard said...

Hi Brent! Welcome aboard

I know you are a proof type of guy. You see Brent, "a someone" was kind enough to drop me pages and pages and pages of the personal letters between the major players in this case, including police, prosecutors, and all the interrogations of witnesses by the police.

You know what Brent? What came out as facts for the trial differ greatly than that contained in the files.

I respect and applaud anyone who took part in an honest and hard working manner in this case. There were many who didn't, right from the top down.

I would encourage any who might still be alive who took part in this manner to please be patient. You haven't seen your name yet, only because I haven't got down that far in the files. As your names surface, trust me, they will be added publicly to the list of manipulators and liars that I have already factually exposed.

Lew Stoddard

Ps Brent. . .Bottom line, Stay Tuned. In the next two weeks as this story concludes, I do promise you, The temperature is going to rise. You can then decide if the legislature of Quebec should be renamed to "Hall Of Shame"

Todd James said...

Good Stuff Lew. You display very well that what goes in the front door of the Bull is not the same stuff that goes out the back door.

Keep the heat turned up, You will solve this. Brent in Saskatoon, you have been in the prairie heat too long, have to be careful, can fry your brain.

Todd James
Ottawa, Ontario

C Adams said...

Lew Stoddard, some people have a big mouth, say a lot, and say nothing.

You on the other hand, have a big mouth, say a lot, and say volumes. My friend, keep up the pressure. Too bad you didn't consider law as a profession. You hit hard, right dead center on the head of the nail.

C. Adams
Blackville, New Brunswick

T. Theberge said...

I believe that the only truly honest cop that existed in this case was that Sgt. Henry Doyon of Gaspe, and they got rid of him because he was honest. That way the dishonest so and so's didn't have to work at truly building a case and solving a crime.

Give them a rough ride. It is now apparent that they deserved every bit of what you are able to throw at them. Unfortunately, poor Wilbert Coffin was the loser on all this.

T. Theberge
Quebec, Quebec

james coffin said...

Mistakes are like ugly seeds that if planted in the dark soil of
forgetfulness may eventually sprout and grow into beautiful
blessings. If we insist on taking them out ever so often to
their ugliness, however, they will never be anything but
unattractive and utterly useless. Within every error is the seed
blessing. Regret is the herbicide that destroys its potential.
now is the right time for everyone to come forward a help correct this terrible mistake

Nephew Rick said...

Hello friends;
This is to all the people who worked for, or know someone who worked for, any of the lawyers involved in this case, government employees who have or had access to information on this case and everyone else who may have heard,seen or obtained any bit of information about this case.
The wheels of justice grind up any opposition that is not fully prepared. We need your help to present such a magnitude of "NEW" evidence that it cannot be ignored.
Keep writing letters, e-mailing and spreading the word of this injustice.
I was reviewing the executive report on the Truscott case, on the Justice dept. web site. and it struck me as ironic that through the pages of legal jargon that the word "TRUTH" appearedin the document only once that I saw.
Please keep the pressure up. With your help changes in our legal system will come and Uncle Bill will finally be able to rest.
So much thanks for all your efforts.