Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Stoddard Online

Sgt. Henri Doyon and wife Marcelle

At the beginning of this story I told you about Sgt. Henri Doyon, officer in charge of the Gaspe' region of Quebec during the time of the murder for which Wilbert Coffin was executed.

Sgt. Doyon was unwavering in his stance against the establishment in the prosecution of Wilbert Coffin. He openly opposed Captain Alphonse Matte and crew when they arrived from Quebec City under direct orders from premier Maurice Duplessis. Matte's only question upon arrival was who was the last known person to see the victims alive? Upon learning that persons name was Wilbert Coffin, there was no turning back. He would be guilty of this crime, pure and simple. Matte was under orders from Duplessis to nail someone, and do it quickly. The rest is history.

As soon as Sgt. Doyon voiced his opinion and concern for the process, immediate plans were put into place to remove him, and he would be replaced by Captain Matte and crew. Sgt. Doyon would be reduced to little more than a joe-boy, and a course plotted for his removal from the area to Quebec City.

Between the time of the laying of the official murder charge and the trial, Wilbert Coffin would be housed in the local jail, or so they thought. Little did the authorities know, Sgt. Doyon and his wife allowed Wilbert Coffin to live with them in the quarters over the jail, and allowed him to eat his meals with them and their family. Obviously, Sgt. Doyon was steadfast in his belief of the innocence of Wilbert Coffin, because in reality, if one thought otherwise, then common sense tells one that the prisoner would not have been allowed to mingle with the family in their home.

After transfer to Quebec, Sgt. Doyon would pay a heavy price for his years of service to the province of Quebec. With only months to go before his twenty five years, Sgt. Doyon was fired, thus eliminating any hopes for a pension for his service. At his age, this was a cruel and shocking blow. It destroyed him. Being a shy and reserved person, many folks were not aware of what he had been forced to endure during his last couple of years on the police force.

Sgt. Doyon suffered extreme and severe depression which resulted in admission to the provincial mental hospital at Quebec. Locked away and virtually forgotten, Sgt. Doyon spent many days reflecting on what was, and what could have been. Thankfully, a journalist interested in his plight visited with him and allowed him to tell his story. This story has previously been told, however, I am presenting it to you, as there will be many of you who will never have seen it. It is a sad chilling tale, almost to the point of being beyond belief.

I also want to point out that immediately following Sgt. Doyon's interview and story there is another story that I am presenting to you in this posting. It too is from a member of the Doyon family. It is also a story about the experiences of Sgt. Henri Doyon and his family following the murders during the Duplessis reign.

I have been working on this part of my story for some time now. I was delighted when Henriette Doyon, the daughter of Sgt. Henri Doyon came forward and agreed with the idea that I publish her story. Her story will make some angry. it will make some sad, and it will make others feel a sense of shame. This story, as told by Henriette Doyon showcases manipulation, deceit, and mental cruelty. In it's ugliest form, this declaration from Ms. Doyon suggests the lowest form of humanity on the part of a senior police official when he suggests to Sgt. Doyon that he sacrifice his wife for one evening as a means of acquiring his pension.

This story had been offered by Henriette Doyon to the larger print media outlets earlier in 2006, however, only exerpts were ever published. I am presenting the story on this site in it's entirety. It is being published in both English and French. I apologize for the fact that you will encounter grammatical errors. This sometimes happens where translation is necessary as translation is not an exact science. Here are the declarations of Sgt. Henri Doyon and Henriette Doyon. . .

"If I had to do it again, it would be absolutely in the same way. The Doyons of Beauce inherited Christian principles. I will preserve them and I could never settle for anything but the truth."

Sitting on a small chair in the somber corridor of the Saint Michel Archange hospital in Quebec, Henri Doyon ex-sergeant of the Provincial police tells his story. He has known personal anguish especially since the Coffin affair, the last being his internment in the institution for mental illness in the provincial capital. Henri Doyon seems a lucid man. He talks calmly, with assurance. This son of a farmer who worked in a blacksmith shop and a garage before entering the ranks as a provincial policeman in 1937, had for more than 24 years a career in the Surety du Quebec.

At the time of the Coffin affair, Doyan had been in Gaspe for 14 years. He was in charge of the office of the Surety in this place. It was then he who took the lead of the investigation.

But Doyon was and is still today convinced of the innocence of Wilbert Coffin.
"They truly wanted that I think like them but, me, I knew that Coffin wasn’t responsible", recalls Doyon in explaining how he rapidly was ousted from the lead of the investigation of the triple murders of the Americans. "Soon as the Inspector Matte arrived, he demanded of me who had seen the hunters for the last time and right away he began to focus on Coffin."

Not long after, Sergeant Doyon was transferred to Quebec to the general force of the provincial police. " There, I made some investigations, but at each moment they started to discredit me. From Sergeant, I passed Corporal, plus agent during 6 months but they didn’t……… and finally the 16 June 19?? (Can’t read this part.unclear) just after I had completed more than 24 years of service in the police force I was dismissed from the Provincial police because of (incompatibility of his functions?) and consequently the Surete refused his demand for a pension. " This pension I had a right to, but it was refused without ever telling me why."
Having lost his career, Doyon continued to make private investigations, not without having spent some time as a deliveryman of oil in order to survive

The Coffin Affair profoundly marked him. But Doyon doesn’t regret his conduct even though he knows that if he had cooperated with the demands of his superiors he would be today in a high post in the administration of this police force " like all those who drenched in the process." he says

Today Henri Doyon contemplates the four walls of the place in which he stays at St Michel Archange, where he was admitted four months ago as an " aliene mental dangereux."
" I’ve had a long depression after becoming an ex policeman but I never thought I’d find myself here." Therefore Doyon hopes he can leave the institute where his wife and two other persons admitted him 4 April 1970

An appeal has already been presented and rejected by Judge Jacques Du Four of the Superior Court, but the procurer of Doyon, Mr. Francois de B Gravel will plead his case in the Court of Appeal in the month of October if his client is still interned.

I am confident that I will be able to leave and to be able to resume my job as private investigator. Doyon says that he is happy about the change in government, without which
" I would spend the rest of my days here."

Here is the story of Henriette Doyon, first in English, followed by the French version. . .

Ex-sergeant of de la Sûreté provinciale du Québec in Gaspé
Dedication of a book by Jacques Hébert (Three Days in Prison.)
"Dedicated to Henri Doyon, former Sergeant of the Sûreté provinciale, an honest man."

A native of Beauce, Henri Doyon did his studies at Police School. He also took his pilot training at Québec. His parents absolutely refused that he fly airplanes. It’s too dangerous! But OK to be a policeman, it’s less dangerous!…

After some years of employment in the Provincial Surety, Doyon was promoted to the position of Sergeant. He was rapidly sent to Gaspé to open the first police station in the Gaspésie, in the year 1940. He was the only one serving the large territory of the Gaspé peninsula, from Chandler to Ste- Anne- des- Monts.

Henri Doyon was an honest and just man towards all and he rapidly gained the respect, the support and the friendship of Gaspésians. In spite of the hard working conditions of the time, he loved his Gaspésie. He detests violence. He uses then methods of education and prevention rather than roughness during arrests.
(Often at risk to his life.) For him, a human being is good until the contrary was proved!

In July 1953, three American hunters, coming to hunt bear, are murdered in Gaspé. Sergeant Doyon is the first to arrive at the site of the murders. He begins his investigation. He gathers the clues, the evidence. He does excellent work. He had already questioned Wilbert Coffin, one of a number of witnesses. Coffin admitted to having stolen from the Americans (a pen knife, binoculars) to reimburse himself for the repair of their broken down jeep in the woods. Coffin, hunter of bears, was also an excellent mechanic. The Americans were to return to him with a payment in cash, but he never saw them again. After several hours of waiting, Coffin then collected some effects in his own way as payment for his work and left, nothing more… thinking that he had been tricked by the Americans. Not too serious!

Doyon knew very well that Coffin spoke the truth. He noted well the facts, the clues, and the evidence. Coffin had stolen but not killed. That’s very clear. Doyon saw the tracks of the other American jeep (still hidden today). Doyon could prove that Coffin, alone, could never murder three hunters armed to the teeth, according to the position of the corpses…according to the time of the murders….according to the alibi of Coffin…according to the rifle used, etc. (But all of this was never used at the trial.)

Although there is a specified pace to the investigation, the government and the Surety Police of Quebec give orders to Doyon to accelerate very quickly the course. It harms the tourist reputation of the Gaspé:
much coveted for hunting bear by Americans. That takes a culprit…and that’s pressure!

Doyon completely ignores the order. He works at putting in the time and finding the one who was truly the culprit. The investigation is taken from him. He is incompetent!…Some days later, the Director of the Surety of Quebec, in Quebec, goes to Gaspé and takes charge of the investigation. (The same evening of his arrival, this last one accompanied by his " sheep" makes a festival, a party that calls for celebration, in a chalet on the river with a photo of Coffin on the hearth, rope around his neck)…to the great desperation of Sergeant Doyon.

The investigation is finished. Coffin stole. He is then the killer…(moreover hung with circumstantial evidence.) One came to quickly find a culprit and save face for the leaders of Quebec. Then the trial of Coffin. Doyon submits the accumulated evidence to his superiors to show Coffin’s innocence. This evidence is never presented in the trial…Doyon is an incompetent!

The only person in whom Coffin would have placed his confidence till the time of his hanging was Sergeant Doyon. The only person to whom he was accepting to make a declaration. (The only honest person.) That confidence was reciprocal since the beginning of the charge of Coffin….Doyon had an order to imprison Coffin in the cells in the basement of the Surety of Quebec in Gaspé where the building was the private residence of the family on the second floor. Doyon once again ignored the orders and housed Coffin " the prisoner" in the guest room, affirming that he wouldn’t let his dog sleep in the cold, humid basement. Throughout the course of the trial in Percé, the S.Q. never knew that Coffin was in the guest room. He ate and slept with our family, without ever trying to escape. Coffin had nothing to hide and was confident that justice would find him innocent.
In spite of the long and hard battle of Doyon, the trial was rotten. Coffin was hung on Feb.10 1956.

The death of Coffin doesn’t shut Doyon up at all. Justice would be made one day in his memory! Doyon will never stop defending the cause of Coffin and shouts about the injustice. His superiors of the S.Q. returned him to Quebec. It was easier to control him there than in Gaspé. One could watch him more closely….

Becoming a resident of Quebec, he dares to ask for a promotion. He had a right to it for a long time, since his mobilization in Gaspé for a number of years, the only and unique service for the population of Gaspésians who he loved. The response to his request was, rest assured, negative! In fact, the response of his superior was this: " Being given your lack of collaboration, I can perhaps despite everything grant your request. But it would be necessary to do that that you lend me your little Marcelle for an evening." ( Marcelle is his wife, my mother…a superb and lovely woman of the times) Doyon refuses categorically! But he isn’t at all surprised at such a response. For him, it’s the norm! This was part of the habits of the leaders of the time. If you want to advance, you must be a part of the gang of crooks and pigs! It’s like that, that’s all!

Doyon is baited and doesn’t latch on. If there is but one person who is just in the S.Q., it is simply me! Never leave my skin there! Honesty is not negotiable….. One has it or one doesn’t! Doyon associated then, in the 1960’s with Jacques Hébert, journalist who became a writer, dedicated to proving the innocence of Coffin. This association succeeds in bringing about the second book published by Hébert on the Coffin Affair " J’Accuse: Les Assassins de Coffin."

The inquest is finally reopened. The truth most certainly will triumph. Coffin wasn’t the culprit. A huge error was committed in 1950’s in Quebec. Doyon was right!
But…once more, the process is corrupt. The same injustices repeat themselves, the evidence is hidden, etc…etc.. One sees again that " the machine" has all the power.

At the time of the reopening of the inquest, in the 1960’s, the Surety of Quebec find Doyon very very very tiring. Too much, it’s too much! Our house is watched 24 hours a day for several months. All the more, the young journalist, Jacques Hébert, becoming a writer, spends the major part of his evenings at our place. I was about 8 or 9 years old. I see men in front of my home. Are they good or malicious? My father tries to reassure his wife and his children. My mother has long discussions with Jacques Hébert that I overhear…she thinks I’m asleep. My sister and I aren’t allowed to play outside for several days. The inquest takes a turn for the worse!

Some time later, the anonymous telephone calls begin: " Doyon, you shut your mouth or you will die. Doyon you are going to die." Until one day where an anonymous call, at suppertime, threatened directly the loss of his wife and his children. My father immediately went to the basement of the house and, the same night, he took us to La Beauce, to the farm of my aunt where we stayed for three weeks, hidden, without him…Doyon had returned to Quebec, throwing himself once more into the lion’s den, in the name of justice!
The reopening of the investigation was a complete failure, from all points of view. Justice wasn’t rendered and worse again!

Doyon decides finally to quit the Surety of Quebec. Even though he hadn’t yet swallowed the Coffin affair. The time had come to think, if not of himself, then of his family. He already had 24 years and 8 months in the service of the surety of Quebec, and he had a right to his pension. He then informed the S.Q. of his retirement in four months. The Surety of Quebec responded that he is out….The reason: insubordination against his superiors ( non execution of received orders). Doyon tried hard to find work to support his family following this and the government always blocks him. Cursed vengeance!…Doyon fought over the years to get his pension…no! Doyon finally lost everything, no income. A process server came one day to get everything, car, furniture and house. They left us with a single thing of value: honesty, the only non-negotiable thing said my father!

Henri Doyon died shortly after. He died one day after being in good health the day before. A unspecified doctor gave my mother the certificate of death on which someone had written "uremia" (failure of the kidneys) in the space of two days. However no kidney problem was ever known with my father. His loyal friend, M. Mercier, also a policeman with the S.Q. never was convinced he died a natural death. (Very like the deaths that happened at the time of the Coffin case.) M. Mercier had seen this happen to others in his career…He tried to convince my mother to have an autopsy of the body, but in all her pain, she refused. Her great love had died and she only wanted simply that one gave him peace!

One will never know the cause of the death of Doyon…maybe did he finally die of sorrow? Maybe he simply should have been hung beside Coffin, the same day… He would have avoided a long and anguished agony, undeserved.
Henriette Doyon, daughter of Henri Doyon 2006

Here is the French version. . .

Natif de la Beauce, Henri Doyon fait ses études à l’école de police. Il fait également son cours de pilote à Québec. Ses parents refusent carrément qu’il pilote des avions. C’est trop dangereux! Mais OK pour la police, c’est moins pire!…..

Après quelques années à l’emploi de la Sûreté Provinciale, Doyon est promu au poste de sergent. On l’envoie rapidement à Gaspé ouvrir le premier poste de police en Gaspésie, dans les années 1940… Il est seul à desservir le grand territoire de la péninsule gaspésienne, de Chandler à Ste-Anne-des-Monts.

Henri Doyon est un homme honnête et juste envers tous et il s’attire rapidement le respect, la sympathie et l’amitié des Gaspésiens. Malgré ses dures conditions de travail à l’époque, il adore sa Gaspésie. Il a horreur de la violence. Il utilise donc la méthode éducative et préventive plutôt que la rudesse lors d’arrestations. (Très souvent au risque de sa vie). Pour lui, un être humain est bon jusqu’à preuve du contraire!

En juillet 1953, trois chasseurs américains, venus pour la chasse à l’ours, sont assassinés à Gaspé. Le sergent Doyon arrive le premier sur les lieux du meurtre. Il commence son enquête. Il accumule les indices, les preuves. Il fait un excellent travail. Il a déjà interrogé Wilbert Coffin, un des nombreux témoins. Coffin a admis avoir volé les américains (un canif, des jumelles) pour se rembourser de la réparation de leur jeep en panne dans le bois. Coffin, chasseur d’ours, était également un excellent mécanicien. Les américains devaient lui revenir avec un paiement en argent, mais il ne les a jamais revus. Après quelques heures d’attente, Coffin a donc ramassé quelques effets en guise de paiement de son travail et est reparti, sans plus… et sachant qu’il venait de se faire « fourrer » par les américains. Pas grave!

Doyon sait très bien que Coffin dit la vérité. Il a bien constaté les faits, les indices, les preuves. Coffin a volé, mais pas tué. C’est très clair. Doyon a vu les traces de l’autre jeep américaine (encore cachée aujourd’hui). Doyon peut déjà prouver que Coffin, seul, ne pouvait pas assassiner trois chasseurs armés jusqu’aux dents, selon la position des corps… selon l’heure des meurtres… selon l’alibi de Coffin… selon la carabine utilisée… etc. (Mais tout cela n’a jamais été soumis au procès).

Malgré que l’enquête se précise, le gouvernement et la Sûreté du Québec donne ordre à Doyon d’en accélérer très sérieusement le cours. Ça nuit à la réputation touristique de la Gaspésie; bien convoitée pour la chasse à l’ours par les américains. Ça prend un coupable… et ça presse!

Doyon ignore complètement l’ordre. Il s’acharne à y mettre le temps et trouver le ou les vrais coupables. On lui retire l’enquête. Il manque de compétence!… Quelques jours après, le directeur de la Sûreté du Québec, à Québec, débarque à Gaspé et prend l’enquête en charge. (Le soir même de son arrivée, ce dernier accompagné de ses « moutons » font la fête, un party bien arrosé, dans un chalet sur la rivière avec la photo de Coffin sur le foyer; corde autour du cou)… au grand désespoir du sergent Doyon.
L’enquête est terminé. Coffin a volé. Il a donc tué… (d’ailleurs pendu sur des preuves circonstancielles). On vient de trouver rapidement un coupable et sauver la face de nos dirigeants du Québec.
Lors du procès de Coffin, Doyon soumet les preuves accumulées à ses supérieurs pour l’innocenter. Ces preuves ne seront jamais présentées lors du procès….. Doyon est un incompétent!
La seule personne en qui Coffin aura fait confiance jusqu’à sa pendaison est le sergent Doyon. La seule personne a qui il acceptait de faire une déclaration (la seule personne honnête). La confiance était réciproque depuis le début de l’accusation de Coffin… Doyon avait eu ordre d’emprisonner Coffin dans les cellules du sous-sol de la Sûreté du Québec à Gaspé dont le bâtiment était la résidence privée de la famille au 2ième étage. Doyon a encore une fois ignoré l’ordre et hébergé « le prisonnier » dans la chambre de visite, affirmant qu’il ne laisserait même pas coucher son chien dans les cellules froides et humides du sous-sol! Tout au cours de son procès à Percé, la S.Q. n’a jamais su que Coffin était dans la chambre de visite. Il a dormi et mangé avec notre famille; sans jamais songer à s’évader. Coffin n’avait rien a se reprocher et était confiant que la justice l’innocenterait…
Malgré la longue et dure bataille de Doyon, le procès est pourri. Coffin est pendu le 10 février 1956.
La mort de Coffin ne ferme pas la gueule de Doyon pour autant. Justice sera faite un jour en sa mémoire! Doyon ne cessera jamais de défendre la cause de Coffin et crier à l’injustice. Ses supérieurs de la S.Q. le rapatrient donc à Québec. Il sera plus facile à faire taire qu’à Gaspé! On pourra le surveiller de près!…

Devenu résident de la ville de Québec, Doyon ose demander une promotion. Laquelle il aurait eu droit depuis longtemps, n’eut été de sa mobilisation à Gaspé depuis de nombreuses années, au seul et unique service de la population gaspésienne qu’il adorait. La réponse à sa demande a, bien sûr, été négative! En fait, la réponse de son supérieur fut celle-ci : «Étant donné ton manque de collaboration, je peux peut-être malgré tout t’accorder ta demande. Mais il faudra pour cela que tu me prêtes la petite Marcelle pour une soirée. (Marcelle est son épouse, ma mère… une superbe de jolie femme à l’époque). Doyon refuse catégoriquement! Mais il n’est aucunement surpris d’une telle réponse. Pour lui, c’est dans les normes! Ça fait partie des habitudes des dirigeants de l’époque. Si tu désires avancer, tu dois être parmi la gang de croches et cochons! C’est comme ça, c’est tout!

Doyon s’acharne encore et ne lâche pas. Si il n’y a qu’une personne juste à la S.Q., ce sera simplement moi! Quitte à y laisser ma peau! L’honnêteté ne se négocie pas… on l’a ou on l’a pas! Doyon s’associe donc, dans les années 1960, à Jacques Hébert, journaliste devenu écrivain, convaincu de prouver l’innocence de Coffin. Cette association aboutit au second livre publié d’Hébert sur l’affaire Coffin « J’accuse les assassins de Coffin ».

L’enquête est enfin réouverte. La vérité va certainement triompher. Coffin n’était pas coupable. Une grande erreur a été commise dans les années 1950 au Québec. Doyon avait raison!

Mais… encore une fois, le procès est corrompu. Les mêmes injustices se répètent, les preuves sont cachées, etc… etc… On constate encore une fois que « la machine » a tous les pouvoirs.

Lors de la réouverture de l’enquête, dans les années ’60, la Sûreté du Québec trouve Doyon ben, ben, ben fatiguant! Trop c’est trop! Notre maison est surveillée 24 heures sur 24 pendant plusieurs mois. D’autant plus que le jeune journaliste Jacques Hébert, devenu écrivain, passe la majeure partie de ses soirées chez-nous. J’ai environ 8 ou 9 ans. Je vois les hommes devant chez-moi. Est-ce des bons ou des méchants? Mon père tente de rassurer sa femme et ses enfants. Ma mère a souvent de longues discussions avec Jacques Hébert que j’entends… elle pense que je dors! Ma sœur et moi venons de recevoir interdiction de sortir pour jouer dehors pendant quelques jours. L’enquête se corse!

Peu de temps plus tard, les téléphones anonymes commencent : « Doyon, tu fermes ta gueule ou tu vas tout perdre. Doyon tu vas crever. » Jusqu’au jour où un appel anonyme, à l’heure du souper, a menacé directement la perte de sa femme et ses enfants. Mon père nous a immédiatement descendus au sous-sol de la maison et, le soir même, il nous amenait dans la Beauce, à la ferme de ma tante où nous sommes restés trois semaines, cachés, sans lui… Doyon était retourné à Québec, se jeter encore une fois dans la fausse aux lions, au nom de la justice!

La réouverture de l’enquête fut un échec total, à tous les points de vue. Justice n’était pas rendue et pire encore!
Doyon décide enfin de quitter la Sûreté du Québec. Malgré qu’il n’a pas encore digéré l’Affaire Coffin. Le temps est venu de penser, si non à lui, à sa famille. Il a déjà 24 années et 8 mois de services à la Sûreté du Québec et il a droit à sa pension. Il informe donc la S.Q. de sa retraite dans 4 mois. La Sûreté du Québec lui répond qu’il est mis dehors… La raison : insubordination envers ses supérieurs (non exécution des ordres reçues). Doyon n’a jamais pu recevoir sa pension du gouvernement du Québec laquelle il avait plein droit. Doyon a bien essayé de retrouver un travail pour faire vivre sa famille par la suite et il a toujours été bloqué par le gouvernement. Maudite vengeance!… Doyon s’est battu pendant des années pour obtenir sa pension… négatif! Doyon a finalement tout perdu, faute de revenu. Un huissier est venu un jour tout chercher, voiture, meubles et maison. Il nous a laissé une seule valeur : l’honnêteté, la seule chose non négociable comme disait mon père!

Henri Doyon est décédé peu de temps après. Il est décédé du jour au lendemain en bonne santé! Un médecin quelconque a remis à ma mère un certificat de décès sur lequel était inscrit « urémie » (arrêt du fonctionnement des reins) dans l’espace de deux jours. Pourtant aucun problème de reins n’était connu chez mon père. Son fidèle ami, M. Mercier, également policier à la S.Q. n’a jamais été convaincu d’une mort naturelle. (Tout comme les décès précipités lors du procès de Coffin). M. Mercier en avait vu bien d’autres dans sa carrière… Il a bien tenté de convaincre ma mère de faire une autopsie du corps, mais dans toute sa peine elle a refusé. Son grand amour venait de décéder et elle voulait simplement qu’on lui fiche la paix!

On ne saura jamais la cause du décès de Doyon… peut-être est-il finalement mort de peine! Peut-être aurait-il dû tout simplement être pendu auprès de Coffin, le même jour… une longue et pénible agonie, non méritée, lui aurait été évitée.
Henriette Doyon, 2006

As previously mentioned, I find this to be a chilling tale. It is indeed a story that has no place in a free society such as Canada. This story comes from the heart, from a middle aged lady who has obviously endured a life of Hell, brought on by the corrupt, dishonest tactics of a justice system that was navigated from the top by none other than the provincial cabinet and premier of the day, the late Maurice Duplessis. In my personal opinion, this whole affair is representative of the darkest moment in Canadian history.

It is incumbent upon us all as citizens to ensure that these events never be repeated. Not only did we as a nation allow one of our citizens to be eliminated, in reality, we created the vehicle that made possible the destrution of lives and families of many who came after. Simply, in this case, the passage of a half century has not erased the pain, or diminished the love that Henriette displays for her Dad.

Lew Stoddard
Posted December 06,2006


Thomas said...

It was obvious in those days that if you didnt ride the rails with Duplessis, you smouldered in the process. That is so hard to accept in this country, but I know it was true. My Dad always used to tell us about these things happening during his younger years.

Good luck to you there Ms.Henriette, you went through a lot'

Thomas in Halifax

Rod said...

I agree, seems to be impossible for all that stuff in Canada. I hate to admit it but it is true.

We are in different times now though and we will solve this Coffin thing once and for all. I just know it.


Lloyd W said...

It was obvious that in those days honest citizens would constantly be looking over their shoulders. Who could you trust, obviously not the police. Little wonder that Wilbert Coffin hanged

Lloyd W

Kathryn H said...

Mr. Stoddard,
I like how you present this story. Not your own editorialized version throughout, but you allow those affected to post their stories as well pertaining to the event. That is special. Something that a newspaper could not and would not ever do. You are doing a great job presenting this horrible event to Canadians.

Kathryn H
Amherst, N S

Trudy N said...

Horrible crimes, Horrible times. Thank goodness times have changed. Well I hope they have anyway. Good work on this Lew, and good luck to the Coffins. God Bless you Henriette Doyon and your family.

Trudy N
Grand Falls, N B

Lani Baker Mitchell said...

The treatment over many years of Henri Doyon was a travesty no honest caring policeman should have to endure! To fire this man just four months or so before he could legally retire and receive the pension he deserved! A 'just society' ??? I think not! We need to call on the Quebec government to right the wrong done to this family, and, at the very least, reimburse his family for the years of Doyon's life that he continued to live, surviving as best he could under horrendous circumstances. The amount reimbursed might not be substantial,but the gesture would be worth a million dollars in the eyes of the family of this honorable man!

Lani Baker Mitchell said...

Le traitement de ce policier honnête qui a consacré sa vie au peuple du Québec est un travesti!
Henriette Doyon m'ecrit "Mon père a essayé toute sa vie de récupérer sa pension de la Sûreté du Québec mais il n'a jamais réussi. Il est décédé en laissant sa famille "dans la rue". J'espère de tout mon coeur et au nom de mon père que la famille Coffin et son fils réussiront un jour à réhabiliter sa mémoire et que cette famille sera dédommagée pour toute la souffrance. Je souhaite également que la mémoire du sergent Doyon soit réhabilitée. Pour lui pendant quatre mois avant qu'il pourrait légalement retirer et recevoir la pension qu'il avait gagnée." Une société juste? Je pense pas!
Au moins nous devons faire compenser le gouvernement du Québec cette famille pour sa pension pendant les années Henri Doyon était vivant survie car mieux il pourrait dans des circonstances horribles. La quantité remboursée ne pourrait pas être beaucoup mais le geste vaudrait la peine million de dollars à la famille de cet homme honorable!

G Nevers said...

I am one of those who really wants to cry after reading this part of the Wilbert Coffin story. As if his execution was not abhorrent, this adds a whole new dimension to it. It never ends, and I have to ask of the media over the years, where have you been? Why have you never reported this stuff? You owe it to the citizens of the country to keep the population informed.

Did Duplessis have control over the media as well? It looks that way.

Henriette Doyon, I have a lot of respect for you coming forward to tell your story. You picked a good place to do it. Lew stoddard does a wonderful sensitive job in the diaplaying of the true facts of this whole affair.

Ana a message to Marie Coffin and family, I am with you all the way in your endeavors and don't ever give up the fight to clear your brother's name. A pardon is not right, only full exoneration is acceptable as far as I am concerned.

G. Nevers

Desiree Landry said...

Mrs Coffin, Ms. Doyon, The baker family, and the list goes on and on. I praise each and everyone of you for the courage to stand and be counted in very trying times, and suffering as a result of the same event, only in different directions, but the pain is still prevalent. Be strong, all of you. Canada is behind you.

Desiree Landry

F D in Rimouski said...

Lew I am anxious to see the next posting of the Wilbert Coffin story. Thank you Sir, I have learned lots. I am so tired of the same old rhetoric. Always knew there was much there that we never knew.

My Dad knows all too well about this case. He knew Mom and Dad Coffin years ago. He is gone now, but heard him speak so many times over the years about this. I am glad for the work that you are doing. Bess you.

Rimouski, Quebec

The Taggert Family said...

Again Lew, good to see you are still in there pitching. Enjoyed the element of the story with Henriette Doyon, the police officer's daughter.

Lew take your medecine.

The Taggert Family
Kamloops, B C

Sarah W said...

I guess it may be easy for some to merely shrug their shoulders and say, no big deal, this didn't affect me, so why get so worked up over it. To that I simply say, Get a Life, it can happen to you. I hope it doesn't but it can, so now is the time to rally together, come forward, help the Coffin family, and be supportive of folks such as Henriette Doyon.

Sarah Wintrop
Burlington, Ontario

Marlene and Scott said...

Bonjour Henriette Doyon,

I am not French, but want you to understand my husband and I are pulling for you and all the Coffin family in all this. Time has passed, but the pain has not.

Marlene and Scott
CFB Trenton

Gloria T said...

Mrs. Coffin, just a note to say we are still thinking of you. Nice to see a posting about Ms. Henrette Doyon too. It sounds like her Dad and your brother had a lot of respect for each other.

Gloria T
Moncton, N B

Wallace M said...

I am enjoying your writings tremendously on this Coffin story Mr. Stoddard. You bring out all the elements, and we have a right to know these things, not just what some newspaper thinks that we should know.

Good luck to the Coffin family, and to ms. Doyon as well. I am supportive of the government coughing up his pension money. Go after them. Mr. Stoddard, are you listening?

Wallace M
Windsor, Ontario

Lily Marchand said...

The picture of Sgt. and Mrs. Doyon adds a sad but true element to this story. Suddenly it is not just about a condemned man and a police officer, it is about a condemned man and someone who obviously cared very much about his fate.

This story has terrible consequences. I hope and pray for the Coffin family and all who are touched by it.

Lily Marchand
Salmon Arm, B C.

J McRae said...

Great writing Mr. Stoddard. Very touching way with words. You put one in the picture.

J McRae

S and H Denny said...

I have enjoyed reading this story here on the internet. I know it is a lot of hard work and research that you have done. You have done it well.

Nice to see your writings and the picture of the police officer and his wife. They and the Coffins suffered dearly over this I am sure.

S and H Denny
Edmundston, N B

S Townsend said...

Mr. Stoddard,

I see you are doing it again. You constantly put down authority. That is so evident in what you turn out under the veil of writing. No wonder kids turn out bad with the likes of you leading away.

S Townsend
North Bay, Ontario

Marjorie said...

I am hopeful, yet fearful about this whole affair. I know that down deep within my heart, I know that Wilbert Coffin did not do these things. I am hoping that the federal government will finally right some wrongs.

St Stephen, N B

Anonymous said...

To S Townsend
I would like to remind you that it was faith in, and to some extent fear, of authority that resulted in the consequences of this case. If people had had questiond the authority figures of the day, we may have had a totally different outcome.
In many cases it was their parents faith,and teachings to respect authority - which proved to be untrustworty - that has turned the youth of today.
Do as I say just doesn't work anymore - nor should it.

Nephew Rick said...

Just like to take time to wish everyone a safe and joyous Holiday Season. There are many different religous beliefs in this nation of ours and at this time of the season it is the feelings we have in our hearts that matter, not what church you attend. Goodwill and love. Would it not be nice to extend those feelings over the whole year? Thanks to all the people who have put their encouragements on this site. The strength we get from you is humbling. Thanks so much. - Rick

Candice M said...

Good morning from Regina. Great posting to the Wilbert Coffin story. The police officer and his family got a real raw deal. It is good that you expose that stuff, especially for the sake of Ms. Doyon and the Coffins.

I new about this case when I was younger, living in Northern New Brunswick.

Candice M

Bert M said...

Strange Strange affairs back in the 50's in eastern Quebec. One has to ask, why and how did all this happen in a society that was supposedly democratic? Actually not that long ago in terms of history of a nation? Could it happen again, and is it happening and we just don't see it?

Good luck to the Coffin family and also to Ms. Doyon.

Bert M

Anonymous said...

Sadly the behaviour of top police of that day leave a bad taste for all...and sometimes we forget that there were very decent men on the force like Sergeant Doyon.I do beleive that there are very good people on today's Quebec police force. Good luck to Ms. Doyon and to the Coffins.

Ivan Coffin said...

This does not have a direct bearing on the Coffin Case, however it does show a part of how good Sgt. Doyon was to the people of Gaspe.
Sgt. Doyon was called to break up a fist fight between a couple of guys. He stopped the fight and then after talking to the guys, suggested that if they really wanted to fight he would set up a boxing ring and then refree their fight(with proper boxing gloves)
this happened in the late 1940's or very earl;y 1050's
The reason I credit this to Sgt. Doyon is because he was our local police officer at the time. But having said that, I cannot say for sure that it was in fact Sgt. Doyon who set up the boxing ring.

Anonymous said...

I am relatively new to this site so I haven't finished reading all the material... just scanned through some parts. I am however familiar with the Coffin case and convinced that he was innocent.

Lew, I haven't seen much here about the early 60's inquiry, will you be covering this at a later date? Why did it fail, what went wrong? Were there still too many heads at the top of the Provincial Police that were protecting themselves? After all, this was after the Duplessis era, with Jean Lesage's liberal government in power in Quebec.

I haven't read either (maybe missed it) about Senator Jacques Hebert's very serious work that resulted in the publication of J'accuse les assassins de Coffin (I read the book many years ago and remember it vaguely) for which Hebert had to serve some time in jail for his accusations toward the authorities. To be noted that he was supported by his good friend Pierre Elliot Trudeau (both had fought the corruption of the Duplessis regime for years) in this case.

Looking forward for more interesting reading. Thanks and congratulations for your work.

E. Walsh

L Tremblay said...

It is so easy to see right through you sir on what you are attempting to do with this story.

You know that you will never win on the basis of innocence or guilt of Wilbert Coffin, so you are laying a guilt trip on everyone who reads this.

You obviously are after the sentiments of the Canadian population, in other words make them all feel guilty by constantly crying corruption and deceit on the part of the authorities. Surely people are smarter than falling for your tactic here. I know that I am.

You may have a way with your fancy word usage, but surely sir you can do better than this. You throw too much of that goody two shoes crap into the story. It is time to take stock of the product that you are putting out there.

L Tremblay

B R said...

I agree with mr tremblay.you knock the police too much as well. i am a former member of the quebec provincial police and my uncle was on the force during the years you rant and rave about. yes there was maybe a few bad actors but not all the men were bad so why dint you speak kind words sometimes about them instead of destroying everybody on the force.


roger said...

Marie Coffin and Ms. Doyon I am happy that you speak out and also those Baker girls a few weeks ago. Many familys were hurt here and Mr. Coffin I believe was wrongly hang. i hope it work out well soon.

roger in
Bathurst, N B

Ivan Coffin said...

To Mr.Tremlay & B.R.
Gentlemen, sometimes we are so blinded by the forest that we cannot see the trees.
In this case there are many trees in this forest and Mr. Stoddard is just looking at a few of the individual trees.
I for one thank him for his efforts to research this case from all angles and lay out the facts.

Kerry T said...

I agree with the last commenter, Mr. Ivan Coffin. All angles need to be investigated. Should have been done years ago. Maybe it would not have turned out as it did. I have said that for years. It was never investigated properly. My sympathies with all involved including the Coffins and Mrs, henriette Doyon.

Kerry T

Niece Debbie said...

Many thanks, from the heart! I know I have commented here in the past. A personal committment has limited my access, and time, on a computer, in the past several months. I have not had time to keep up with the site, though my spirit rejoices at the effort you have continued to put in on my uncle/family's behalf. My family is amazed at how you have used your site, time,and belief in my uncle's innocence, in such a helpful way. We sincerely appreciate all you are doing, Lew!! Thank you again, so,so much! Although I am behind,in reading all the comments on the site, I was distressed to hear,via a family member, that some readers made negative comments, a while back, regarding your postings. Our family has only gratitude for all your help and efforts, Lew. We are touched and grateful,and pray God blesses you manyfold for your incredible work to assist, in such a caring way, with the clearing of my Uncle Bill's name! The fact that you so dilengently seek the truth has not gone unnoticed by our family. Thank you. Thank you so much. With regard to the latest posting, some of my family had the pleasure of meeting Doyon's daughter, Henriette,this past summer. It was a deeply touching time for us all, and she is a lovely, compassionately caring person. Henri Doyon shone like a light, in a time of darkness,sadness, confusion,and deep pain, for my uncle, family, truth and justice. So have you, Lew.If only Canada's justice system had been filled with folks like you, Lew, my Uncle Bill would have lived to raise his son, my wonderful cousin Jimmy. Other innocent people would have avoided incarceration, or being killed. Lew, thank you, again. In case I don't get back on the site for a while, God bless you, and the readers of this site with a very wonderful Christmas/holiday season, and Happy New Year! Debbie

niece debbie said...

spelling correction to my above comment: diligently

niece debbie said...

A special thank you, to Lani Baker, for all your efforts on behalf of my uncle and family. God bless you, Lani, for your courage,and dedication. We appreciate your efforts, so, so much. Thank you,as well, to all the encouraging readers, whose comments have warmed our hearts,and encouraged us in our efforts to clear my uncle's and family's name! And Lew, though I just thanked you,we cannot thank you enough! You are one of a kind, and a good kind indeed! God Bless you all! Debbie

M Doucette said...

Just doing my Sunday morning update on this web site. Still impressed with the things we are finding out.

The special report on the police officer and his family added a dimension that we normally do not think or know about. Obviously, and according to what daughter Henriette is saying this family suffered severely as well over this whole mess.

This is very truly something that has to be addressed and corrected. The government has to realize, this has hurt too many people to be simplly ignored as they have done for so many years.

The Coffin family has been reeling and wallowing in this for far too long. I urge all federal politicians across Canada, and as well, provincial politicians in the province of Quebec to do the job that you were elected to do and straighten this out now.

M Doucette
Saint John

T Cote said...

I support M. Doucette of Saint John in what you say about the politicians doing their job.

We should not have to goad them. It is like trying to wake them up in the morning to go to work. Did they not get hired to do a job, responsible to their employers, which in their case happens to be the taxpayers of Canada.

Sadly, if they cannot, and it would appear they can't, recognize what their jobs are, then in my opinion we have the wrong people trying to muddle through a job that they are unqualified to do.

T Cote
Miramchi, N B

Gabe and Henrietta said...

Message to Lew Stoddard,

You appear to be a wise informed person, willing to look at all sides. The "boring House Of Commons" could use your talents. You have at least two votes in this house.

Good job on your story Sir.

Gabe and Henrietta in Abbotsford B C

Lani said...

To Debbie
You are most welcome.
We have a ways to travel yet until we come to the truth, but it's just around the bend! Again I want to say to the few people who I know are remaining silent about this affair and have pertinent information, please speak up.

Tom M said...

Like many others I too have commented on your page in the past. I must say I dont get a chance due to work/travel to read it on a steady basis.

To compensate I have just completed reading each and every posting from start to finish, and have to say, It is incredibly interesting. You are doing it in a very easy to follow understanding way.

In conclusion, again thanks and I take this opportunity to say Merry Christmas to you and your family, Mr. Stoddard.

Tom M
Burns Lake, B C

Magalie Doyon Joncas said...

Je suis la petite fille du sergent Doyon. Je connais très bien son histoire. Je suis heureuse qu'enfin un homme comme M. Stoddard dénonce enfin l'injustice faite à mon grand-père. Mes grands-parents avaient des amis qui étaient également d'honnêtes policiers à cette époque. Cela dit, l'injustice faite à mon grand-père doit malgré tout ne plus être cachée. Les honnêtes gens savent se reconnaître dans cette histoire. Je souhaite courage et justice à la famille Coffin.
Magalie Doyon Joncas, Gaspé

Lani said...

Here is a ' rough' translation of the comment of Magalie Doyon Joncas:
I am the daughter of Sergeant Doyon. I know his history very well. I am happy that finally a man such as Mr. Stoddard denounces the injustice done to my grandfather. My grandparents had friends who were also honest police officers at that time. However, the injustice done to my grandfather must, despite everything, not be hidden any more. Decent people can recognize themselves in this history. I wish the Coffin family courage and justice.

lani said...

sorry...it is the grand daughter of Doyon, not the daughter.