Wednesday, March 28, 2007

In many countries of the world including Canada, when one is found guilty of a crime, a range of prescribed penalties is made available to the judicial process that supposedly will act as a deterrent, and at the same time, satisfy society that a guilty party has been made to pay. A simple solution? Yes it is. It is simple as long as the process will withstand the test of truth. If it will not withstand the truth test, the system will falter.
When the system falters, our government law makers have provided a fancy three dollar assortment of words that hopefully will lessen the impact by hopefully preserving our elected as a group who can do no wrong. That assortment of words that we hear all too often is "wrongfully convicted." It is a nice way of simply saying, "The system screwed up."
One thing that I have discovered over the years though is the fact that I could not find a single case of the government coming forward and volunteering this disclosure. It came about only after pressure and heat was applied to the process by the public. In most cases, it required many years of non-stop bumping and grinding by a rentless group, unwilling to yield to the assinine decisions of a flawed process.
When it becomes apparent by the public there is likelihood of a botched process and conviction, the government immediately moves into "damage control mode." The government does not say, yes, we perhaps made a mistake. The official position, places the onus completely on the public to prove the government was in error.
True, the government will make a big splash and state they are doing a complete study of the case, leading the public into thinking they want to make the process right. In my view, I will refer to this as "hogwash." There is another word that possibly defines it better, however, in the interests of good vocabulary, I shall not use the word on my web site. Afterall, if the government is as caring as they portray themselves, then again I ask, why did they not instigate the review on their own, void of public pressure?
The Wilbert Coffin case is a prime example of justice gone wild. It is different from many others, chiefly because Wilbert Coffin was executed. In Mr. Coffin's case, serious questions lingered prior to the banging of the gavel at the original inquest. If I can see that some fifty years after the fact, then surely, it was a planned, calculated hit on a fellow human being who had been pre-judged as someone incapable of fighting back. This was wrong, wrong, wrong and the facts of the case support my statement.
This case is going to sit right where it is at if we don't get off our butts and collectively make it happen. I cannot adequately stress the importance of becoming aggressive. This is our one and only chance. I have stated that a number of times on this site. This is not the time for cheap shots and bickering. By that I refer to some of the mail that I receive and some of the posted comments. There are a number of you who take example with my style of reporting. That is alright. That tells me that you are paying attention to this case. If more people would have done that over the years, perhaps this case would not be in the chaos that it is in a half century after the fact. Specifically, I am referring to "new evidence."
A question for any who are reading this site. Have you read the complete trial transcripts of Wilbert Coffin's trial back in 1954? I have. I read the transcripts to learn about this case. I am not interested in spouting off half-cocked. I wanted to learn what was, and what wasn't covered at trial. If you were to hear some of the remarks by telephone, and read some of the comments that I receive by e-mail, in addition to some of the on site comments, I have no reservations whatsoever, that many of you folks would quickly agree there are many who prefer to engage their mouth before they put their brain into gear.
An example to the above is my reference to "new evidence." There are several key pieces of sworn testimony and evidence that was placed with the authorities long before this trial commenced. When the trial concluded, this evidence had never been brought forward, and to this day, does not form part of the official record. This is unacceptable, deplorable, and because of the fact that it was not presented, I stand firm in my belief that it is new evidence. The fact that it was suppressed to strengthen a crooked agenda does not lessen the gravity of it's importance.
Prime examples of suppressed evidence would include Doctor Wilson and his wife Mimi. They saw a jeep of a particular design on a ferry in the Saint Lawrence River. This jeep, complete with Pennsylvania licence plates, closely paralleled a jeep with two occupants that had been reported sighted in the woods by Wilbert Coffin. A sworn statement was made by the Wilsons, and that was the end of it. Similarly, a jeep of this description had been reported by Fabien Sinnett. He had spotted this jeep in the town of Gaspe. Again, his statement never made it to court. Why? I want to know why? Until I get that answer, that remains as new evidence.
Another question for you. I hope there is someone amongst you who will provide me with details. It is as well, a question that was never answered at the trial. The question is, Is there someone who can e-mail me and tell me all about the information from the Dumaresq family. This information is vital. Again, it ties in directly with jeep sightings, description of vehicles, licence plates and individuals.
I will not publish the name of the individual involved, however, here is an exerpt from an e-mail that I received yesterday. I am quoting directly from the e-mail, "Wilbert Dumaresq was with Raymond and Eddy Dumaresq at the time they saw the jeep in the woods. His father Wilbert told him at the time, that the first vehicle was a pick-up truck with an american license with three men, one middle age, and the other two were young men, and about two hours later there was a jeep who stopped and talked to Dufresne a man working for the Dumeresq's. One of the occupant was wearing a jacket with fringes, and they were looking for the bear hunters." This is important stuff. I want to know why they were looking for the bear hunters. I also want to know why this stuff was not covered properly at the trial. In concert with above, until these questions are answered, I consider this to be new evidence.
Several times I have referred to the fact as to why this or that never got reported by the authorities. A couple of people in particular are quick to point out that it was covered in this or that newspaper. Let it be said here and now. I couldn't care less which big print media outlet carried something in 1966. I want to know why they did not report it prior to 1954. I want to know why it never got reported where it mattered, in the court room.
To date, I have prepared a list of things that can and must be answered before a new determination for this case can be established. I believe that these items are paramount, and will prove beyond any reasonable doubt that Wilbert Coffin was railroaded. The following constitutes my list,
1) The changing of the inquest verdict
2) Refusal to allow Wilbert Coffin to testify at inquest when he requested to do so
3) Refusal to allow Wilbert Coffin an English trial as was his wish and request
4) Suppression of evidence by Doctor and Mrs. Wilson
5) Suppression of evidence supplied by Fabien Sinnett
6) No established proof as to the cause of Richard Lindsey's death
7) Acceptance that Richard Lindsey died of gunshot wounds when in fact there were no broken bones, there was no murder weapon found, there were no spent cartridge cases, there were no bullets or bullet fragments found in or adjacent to his remains
8) Circular perforations in Richard Lindsey's garments that can be proven to be well in excess of any small arms cartridges available. The medical examiner stated that the perforations were varying from 7/16" to 1/2" in diameter.
9) Evidence supports my theory that Richard Lindsey was stabbed by a tapered object rather than having been shot to death
10) Evidence by the medical examiner at trial stating that the marks on one human bone could have been made by the teeth of a forest animal
11) The refusal by the judge to grant Wilbert Coffin an English trial as was his right, by substituting a half English, half French jury at his trial
12) The neglect and/or refusal by the judge to ensure that Wilbert Coffin was receiving fair and proper legal representation at trial, when it would have been obvious that he was not. The judge was in charge of the operation of the trial and it would have been incumbent upon him to ensure that the best interests of the defendant were in place.
13) Investigating the finding of a handgun discarded in the area of the murder a short time after the event. This person has identified himself to me by name, and I have had dialogue with him
I have outlined thirteen major reasons that I consider to be of prime importance with respect to overturning this case. In todays legal process any one of these reasons would be sufficient to declare a misstrial. It should have been in 1954 as well. The passage of fifty-four years does not erase that.

I constantly see references to a possible pardon. This is constantly spelled out in broadcast and print media. I see that idea being touted in the book, To Build A Noose. The final paragraph of the book sums it this way, and I quote directly from the books epilogue. "Hopefully, what has been written will play a part, however small, in obtaining a posthumous pardon for Wilbert Coffin."
Allow me to remind any and all who are reading my posting today. Pardons are for the guilty, exoneration is for the innocent. A pardon merely states that the offence took place, but from this point on we are no longer holding you responsible. Exoneration simply means that due to a lack of evidence you should not be held responsible for this crime and are hereby released from the wrath of a trumped up case against you.
I reiterate what I have said many times before. This is a time for unity if this affair is ever going to right itself. Lani Mitchell and myself have worked tirelessly on this for a year. We cannot do it alone. We have taken this case down the road far beyond any in the past, and the work is not done. To those of you who find the time to sit out there and criticize others, make an effort to do something constructive.
I wish also to remind you that airing tonight on CBC French there is a one hour special program on the Coffin affair. The name of the program is "Enjeux" I am informed that the program will cover all phases of the Wilbert Coffin story and answer many questions. I am encouraged by that. If however, it doesn't answer at least some of the issues that I have raised above, then we are back to re-reporting what has been covered many times. It is unfortunate as well that the program is produced in French only. This is particularly disturbing considering the funding for the CBC comes from the federal government, which is taxpayer based from all Canadians, regardless of language.
Lew Stoddard
Posted to site March 28, 2007


Graham Cochrane said...

To Lew Stoddard,
we had the opportunity to read your last posting early this evening prior to the cbc show about Wilbert Coffin. i must say that you have done very well with your own resourses on the way that you have researched and investigated for this story. I say that because when you consider the vast resourses of the cbc you have been more in depth than they have and explored things that they didnt do.Much of their stuff has been on over and over for years. I agree with you it is time to look at events that havent been talked about. keep up the good work mr. Stoddard.

Graham Cochrane
Dawson Creek

Dave McLean said...

You make a lot of sense in the things that you posted today. Valid things that need to be seriously studied, such as your theory on the cause of death and the information on the vehicles as well as held back evidence.

You are certainly doing your bit to keep this case active. I found your site some weeks back through the Gaspe web site.

Dave McLean

D Rawlings said...

Don't let those negative so and so's get you down. Keep pitching. Good luck to the Coffin family. They are fortunate to have you on their side.

D Rawlings
Burnaby, B C

Janice Miller said...

No doubt about it Sir, an incredible posting. I hope it causes some to sit up straight and take notice.

I did not realize that there were as many examples of a tarnished prosecution as is shown in your writings and investigation

Once again thank you for a great piece of writing, and shall continue to follow as I have done in the past.

Janice Miller
Surrey, B C

Greta A said...

Nothing new and different on the CBC program. Know all that and more from this site, plus I can actually take part in it here and feel like I am part of the process that may eventually free Wilbert Coffin's name.

Stand tall Coffin family. This is a great method to get the message out.

Greta Acton
Windsor, Ontario

Ken Barbour said...

I find it interesting as to how you have worked at and developed this story piece by piece from the beginning.

You have not followed an established storyline of writing and re-writing what others have already done. As another commenter stated above, you have done this with very little resources and that earns you a lot of respect. Keep up your energy on this Sir, and I would suggest that if there are those who think it is easy, let us see them duplicate it.

Ken Barbour

D Rezniak said...

Unfortunately things like this happen when democracy is allowed to turn to dictatorship, and that is what happened with Duplesis.

You write a strong story Sir, and it can be backed up with fact. That is so important. Great stuff.

D Rezniak

Elsie said...

Still Posting so you have defeated pneumonia - Excellent!!
We regret that you are still being asked about monetary gains. So few people believe this of you that I wonder why they are still reading your posting? Lew, perhaps they are uanaware of the fact that you have put in countless hours also gone to great expense in researching the, "Coffin Affair." Your only goal being satisfaction to yourself plus obtain closure for Wilbert's family, therefore personal questions are uncalled for and very distasteful. We (Wilbert's family) know you have never asked for compensation in any form so I wish to make this point very clear.
This , "Inquiry", in progress can only succeed if everything and everyone is closely looked into. Events that took place in Gaspe, Perce, Quebec, Montreal, and Ottawa where the final decision left us with a brother dead and no where else to go, a great void which we have never been able to fill. So many times over the years that hope was given and then taken away so do we this time dare to hope!?
Lew, thank you for a saga well written which has made you a friend to Wilbert's family. Sincerely we hope your health will improve.

M Moncrief said...

I do agree with you when you indicate that the things that will turn this case around will be the errors made and proof that Wilbert Coffins trial was a set up. It will not be easy as the government is being asked to acknowledge their own bad deeds.

In some ways it appears that support for this cause is getting weaker or it is assumed that since the government is now looking at it that everything necessary has been done. I do not believe that it has and I believe that the fight has to continue until there is nothing more to discuss.

M. Moncrief

Gilbert C said...

The Quebec Provincial Police do not have the credibility behind them to support a theory of honesty on the part of the police in this case.

It is the same to this day. Instantly when their name comes up as an investigating authority, one immediately thinks of deceit and corruption. Then again, seems to be the way with police forces today. A sad world that we live in.

Gilbert C

Lani Baker Mitchell said...

M. Moncrief say that " in some ways it appears that support for this cause is getting weaker...everything necessary has been done.." She is right in saying this shouldn't be happening as there is a long way to go yet in this case. Lew's posting of the photo in an earlier posting has brought good results, thanks to those that follow this site. We're still hard at work on this tragedy and hope that anyone with more information/insights/thoughts to share will continue to see the importance of coming forward.It's the only way people across Canada and beyond can help bring about the rightful clearing of a good man's name and a deserving peace to the Coffin family.

Vladimir Orlt said...

An intriguing and disturbing story... as are many unsolved-homicide cases.

It is unclear to me whether Mr. Coffin was guilty of murder or not.. but that is not the point. The point is that were he not given the death penalty, he and others would have had the chance to try and clear his name, a chance that he was not given at his miserable trial... at a time when he would have had the best chance of success. And had he been found guilty even in a retrial, the death penalty should still not have been applied...

This is why the death penalty should be banned... can any judicial system, even a well-intentioned one, claim infallibility? To sentence a convicted person to death is to pretend to have seen the perpetration of the crime as if with "God's eye"... as we sometimes wish we could in cases such as these.

Simon Holmes said...

I keep seeing and hearing this documentary and that documentary, and basically they are all the same, sometimes with a new individual here and there dragged in. The information content never really changes. Always content with the same old crap.

Why do I never hear or see reference to your suggestions of suppressed evidence? This is wrong. Why do I never see your suggestion and theory as to how this young man and perhaps the other died? I am alluding to your suggestion that cause of death was other than that caused by a firearm. I consider this important, many others do as well. Why is it ok for the media to think that it is not? By holding it back from public scrutiny, they are displaying the same attitude that has shrouded this case for a half century.

Simon Holmes
Shediac, N B

Blair Myles said...

I agree with Mr. Holmes. The content remains the same now as it has always been. People expend their time, money, and energies, turn over new facts of the case, and it appears to end there. What does it take to get the attention of the media and the politicians?

Is the Coffin family showing the support that is needed to force a turn around in this? I do not know the answer to that but it is a time for solidarity. As you have said Mr. Stoddard, there will be no tomorrow. I urge everyone, grab a seat on the bus today, because it will be the last stop.

Blair Myles
Madewaska, Maine, USA

Jeff C said...

It is unfortunate that someone must die in order that we learn some common sense. It was the government who made capital punsihment a reality, so it is that same body who must accept the responsibility when it is allowed to run wild. I have no quarrel with an offender being punished, but I do have a very large quarrel with an innocent person walking to the gallows, and an even larger quarrel with a government who maintains that it was justified, even when proven that it wasn't.

Jeff Carmiachel
Calgary, Alberta

Roger Doucette said...

I want to say Good Luck to everyone in the effort to get this case worked over.

It will be a work or art, that is for sure if it is successful.

Everyone in the Gaspe' surrounding district should rally to the cause in this endeavor. No community should have to bear the weight of a black mark such as is apparent here on their history.

I agree with you Mr. Stoddard, the time is fast running out on this.

Roger Doucette
Grand Falls

L Boisclair said...

If there are any of you out there who think this is going to be an easy ride to get this case righted, then I suggest that you pay a little closer attention to the Stephen Truscott case in Ontario.

Mr. Truscott is still with us, and able to defend himself, and look what he is forced to endure. There is still not a clear answer as to what is going to take place with regard to his case.

It is not the time to call out the marching bands of victory celebration in this yet. It is a very long lonely tiresome road. The bottom line, get the momentum going again. You will need it.

L Boisclair

R Palmer said...

I agree with L Boisclair. It will be long and tiring. Not the time to assume victory, that is for sure.

Ron Palmer

Denise Sauve said...

When I read your last posting Lew I am pleased to learn that you are placing emphasis on the vehicles that arrived and exited from the murder site.

From reading over the years I have always felt that there is something that we do not know about with regard to vehicles and the fact that Wilbert Coffin had reported that he saw a vehicle with two occupants at the site when he returned with Lindsey Jr.

Keep up the work and spirit Sir. You deserve a lot of praise, not only for your writing skills, but your investigative skills as well.

Happy Easter to all.

Denise Sauve
St. Hubert

Cory McFarlane said...

Just want to add my thoughts as well. As you have said many times, this is the time to stick together on this. Just because the government is looking at it does not mean the last hurdle has been conquered.

You question about what evidence they will allow with regard to suppressed and denied evidence is so important. That is a question that we must push them for an answer. That is the key to unlocking the whole affair, otherwise we end up right back where we are right now, with them reviewing the same stuff that has been done in the past.

Cory McFarlane
Sardis, B C

Georgina Grieve said...

Happy Easter everyone. Mr. Stoddard as I read your postings each time on this story I am of the opinion that you do not have a lot of faith in the system. If I am correct is that necessairly a good route to be taking? I mean afterall you do eventually have to be supportive of our system because it is that system that sets the rules.

Georgina Grieve

N Gautier said...

I think that we can presume that if the government has agreed to look at this case then they agree that it is not correct and that it will be overturned. I do give the government credit for that much.

I think the Coffin family can breathe a sigh of relief, will just take a littl time but will now turn out ok.

N Gautier

Nick said...

You have made your point Mr. Stoddard. You have carried on for months and the case is being reviewed so for all intents and purposes it is now in stronger hands. My question is, why do you keep raving on and on about it? At what point are you satisfied?

Hamilton, Ontario

Wade Manson said...

I agree with Nick. Back off until such time as you know it didn't happen. it is now obivious that it will get turned around. chill out man and take a breather.

Wade Manson

Sharon J said...

I do not believe that we should for a moment just "assume" that this will come out and be turned over. There is nothing to suggest that. If it were that easy it would have taken place years ago.

I am one to agree that everyone should tread with a lot of caution.

Sharon J

Lew Stoddard said...

Happy Easter to all the followers of this site across Canada and beyond.,

I wish to set the record straight on a couple of points.

I notice there are some who question my thoughts and writings on this affair. I encourage everyone to ask questions about any event in life. That is what makes healthy dialogue. I shall now address some of your comments and concerns.

Firstly, I shall refer to Nick from Hamilton. Nick, you ask the question,"at what point will I be satisfied, and why do I rave on about the case when according to you, it is in stronger hands?"

Nick, the answers to both your questions are very simple. Unfortunately Nick, arriving at the answers is the tough part. Firstly, I shall show satisfaction when the authorities convince me that they have done everything possible to right a horrendous wrong. Secondly, that would be the point at which I would perhaps rave on even further, to express my jubilation at the fact that perhaps one can have faith in the system, which G. Grieve of Nanaimo suggests correctly that I do not.

Many good men and women spilled their blood on the battle fields of Europe and elsewhere to preserve our democratic process in Canada. It is as a result of those sacrifices that we have a democratic system, complete with many freedoms in this land called Canada. That system is in place for all of us, and to allow the system to erode is thumbing our noses at those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Thus, my position remains steadfast, I shall ease up on the pressure on the same day that our parliamentary process recognizes and corrects the error of their ways.

Thanks for your concern.

Lew Stoddard
Host of Stoddard Online

Sandra Davis said...

I agree with you Mr. Stoddard 100%. You made a very stirring speech in your comment above.

Surely people are smarter than what I see by some of the comments expressed on here. No wonder the government system is in such chaos.

Are people not paying attention to the history of our country? It would appear not.

The Coffin family are lucky to have you at bat publicly for them on this matter, especially, when you do it from the heart and not to foster some hidden agenda.

Keep up the pressure and good work.

Sandra Davis
Perth Andover, N B

Shorty the long haul driver said...

Hey Lew, long time no talk to you happy Easter. i like your speech on here an if you want to come out to alberta and run for a politic office there are three votes waiting in our house for you.

Shorty the long haul driver
On the cold prairie

Darlene Landry said...

Mr. Stoddard it takes courage to make some of the statements that I read on this site.

You display that courage in a big way at the risk of much criticism. Sometimes that is what is necessary to drive home a point.

Your public display of your feelings of uneasiness with the police and judiciary system of the day in this case are prime examples.

I am confident, that given the chance, you will prove your point in a positive way. Mr. Coffin cannot be brought back but his family may have some peace of mind. I am certain that fact alone is encouragement for you to carry on.

Happy Easter Sir to you and your family.

Darlene Landry
Grand Falls, N B

Marilynne said...

I haven't commented on your site for awhile, but want you to know that I still read everything that you write regarding the Coffin case.

I applaud your efforts in this affair. I know there have been periods where it would seem that some people would assume that the case was finished. A couple of examples that come to mind were the stories about a suspect who apparently had been identified, and more recently the announcement that the case was under government review.

In both cases you were quick to point out, the case is far from conclusion. I totally agree with you. The review is great news but it had alrady been announced last fall. I just hope and pray that the government can be convinced to include the evidence that you speak about. If they do not, the door is open for a shivering finality.

I further agree with you when you say, "pardons are for the guilty, and exoneration is for the innocent." I am hopeful that the Coffin family agrees as well. I feel that Wilbert should be exonerated.

Now Lew, before I disappear, I have to tell you. Look after your health, do what the doctor tells you. By the way, there is an opening for a radio news writer in Calgary. Would be great to have you as a member of the team again.

Marilynne B