Thursday, April 03, 2008

WHY DIDN'T OTTAWA SAVE WILBERT COFFIN ?.
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This posting may appear to be many pages of heavy reading. In reality, it is. Some of it, you may have to re-read several times, but if you do, the full picture will emerge. This is what happens when governments get hold of things that should be written for the everyday person. Before you get into it, get comfortable with a pot of good coffee. If, after giving it a good try, you honestly do not understand, send me an e-mail and I shall help. Bear in mind though, I will answer a specific question. I am not prepared to once again re-write the complete posting. As well, remember to sign your questions and comments, as we do not respond to "anonymous" queries.
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As soon as the federal government became involved in the Wilbert Coffin affair, it ceased being a case of probable unfair and unjust principles that were levelled against a defendant. It would fast become a political football between the province of Quebec, and the federal government of Canada, with the United States of America standing by ready to gobble up the spoils of what remained. This statement can now be easily proven. Documented proof still exists to this day that substantiates that claim.
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It is no longer a secret that premier Maurice Duplessis of Quebec hated The Right Honourable Louis St. Laurent, the prime minister of Canada. It is also no secret that St. Laurent carried a hatred just as large for Duplessis. The American administration in Washington DC knew this, and they would use these facts behind the scenes to foster their own agenda with reference to Canada. They would do it smoothly, they would do it diligently, all the while making it appear that it was Ottawa who had smoothed out the edges. If the boys in Ottawa could be manipulated into a situation where they looked good to themselves, the electorate in Canada would hopefully look favourable at them again as election time was looming.
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Prime Minister St. Laurent, and his band of loyals known as the federal cabinet must at all costs appear unified. It was paramount, affairs must be carried out accordingly. It was imperative. If the liberal government under St. Laurent was to have a chance of another term in Ottawa, the electors in Quebec must be kept onside, with or without the personal support of Duplessis.
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One must consider here, this period of Canadian history and the way that it was put together would stand out as the very catalyst in the drafting of an accord affecting the two largest trading partners on the planet. The United States Of America was not about to sit with their engines in idle. Let's face it. They had the most to lose.
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Canada had what the USA needed most, that was resources. This was post Second War, and the half way point of the century. There was an even bigger fish to fry. In 1954, Canada and The United States had embarked upon a joint venture known as The St. Lawrence Seaway. This would open both countries to vast untold fortunes in both importing and exporting. As is hoped with any vast venture such as this project, both partners would hopefully emerge as winners, except it was Canada who gave up the most to achieve the goal. This was another reason that the USA would tread carefully in her quest to control. Canadian authorities must feel that the American administration was bowing to them.
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You may be wondering what all of this has to do with the Wilbert Coffin affair. That is a fair question. From this point forward, you are going to be introduced to a new cast of characters with reference to the Wilbert Coffin affair. You will see how the above ties in directly with Regina Vs Coffin. It will appear to be a tangled web of deceit, manipulation, and corruption. Trust me, it is all of those. I also caution you. There will be parts of this that will require an indepth reading and discovery by yourselves, but if you take the time, you will see the true picture emerge. If you are not prepared to do this, then you may be wasting your time. You must remember, this was not put together fifty plus years ago in such a way that generations down the road could easily figure it out. Clearly, it was meant to deceive. Here is my documented report, although a nastier more cynical person than myself might have titled the proceeding "The United States Of America and Regina Vs Coffin" instead of simply Regina Vs Coffin. It is now necessary that we go back into time and work forward.
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Having failed to gain a new trial for Wilbert Coffin, his defense lawyers, Francois Gravel, and Arthur Maloney had made the decision to petition the federal cabinet to review the case and render a decision based on that review. The date was September, 1955. Other than a motion to approve a pay raise for themselves, politicians are not known to be expedient. The Coffin affair would be no exception. They did not know a lot about it, and anyway, it was something that had taken place down in eastern Quebec in Duplessis country. True, they wanted to look good to the people, but no matter which way they leaned, there would be a force against them. They would avoid the wrath of Duplessis if at all possible, as otherwise, they would be in a double jeopardy situation, and that would not a nice position to be in.
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This is where it begins to get a bit complicated. Up until now most Canadians familiar with the Wilbert Coffin case had heard of the displeasure expressed by the United States of America for three of its citizens being murdered in Quebec. True, they were upset, and of course had good reason to be. The United States Ambassador to Canada, the Honourable John Foster Dulles had touted the theory to Duplessis and to St. Laurent that the affair would have grave consequences on the tourist business, especially, from the Federation of American Sportsmen. It would have that effect to be certain, however, it went much deeper. It went much deeper with St. Laurent and the cabinet, however, Duplessis would not be made aware of the hidden implications. He was left right where all wanted him to be, thinking that the Americans were putting pressure on him with reference to the tourist trade.
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The following is the first thread of the web. It involves legal wranglings between Canada and the United States over the extradition of two individuals, W. H. Link and H. M. Green to face charges in the United States on securities fraud. The problem stemmed from December 1954 when Chief Justice W. B. Scott of the Quebec Superior Court refused to extradite these individuals to face justice in the USA. The United States administration replied by making application to the Supreme Court Of Canada to appeal this decision. The Supreme Court refused the appeal on the grounds that it had no jurisdiction in extradiction matters. The following exerpts from a confidential memo are self explanatory in this matter.
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The following is a memorandum from Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs to Secretary of State for External Affairs.
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CONFIDENTIAL.
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.Ottawa, October 24th, 1955
.EXTRADITION, POLITICAL REASONS FOR SUBMITTING LINK AND GREEN
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REFERENCE TO THE SUPREME COURT OF CANADA
.1. Scope of Memorandum
.The Minister of Justice is presenting to the Cabinet, at this week's Cabinet meeting, a draft submission to the Governor in Council, recommending that two questions be referred to the Supreme Court of Canada for hearing and consideration in regard to the Scott Judgment in the Link and Green extradition case. The Minister of Justice's draft submission to the Governor in Council will explain the legal position. The purpose of this memorandum is to set out the political reasons that make this action necessary.
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In December, 1954 Associate Chief Justice W.B. Scott of the Superior Court of Quebec, Montreal District, refused the application of the United States Government for the extradition of W.H. Link and H.M. Green on charges involving fraudulent dealings with securities under the Extradition Act, pursuant to the 1951 Supplementary Extradition Convention. The United States Government applied to the Supreme Court of Canada for leave to appeal the decision. The Supreme Court refused the application. The Court did not pass on the substance of the judgment, as it considered that it did not have jurisdiction to hear appeals in extradition cases.
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Views of the Minister of Justice.
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The Minister of Justice is of the opinion that it is important to the administration of the Extradition Treaty between Canada and the United States that this reference should be made to the Supreme Court of Canada.
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Conclusions:
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By making this reference to the Supreme Court of Canada, the Canadian Government will be taking the measures open to it to meet the problem of fraudulent securities offerings across the border. Should the Canadian Government, on the other hand, decide not to make this reference to the Supreme Court of Canada, an awkward situation would be likely to develop. The United States Government would be frustrated in its efforts to solve the fraudulent securities problem and it would be in a position to place the blame on the Canadian Government. Such a situation clearly must be avoided if at all possible.
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For these reasons the Department of External Affairs supports the recommendation of the Minister of Justice that the Scott Judgment be referred to the Supreme Court of Canada.
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J. LÉGER
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It was necessary to show you this because it will form the basis of subsequent parts which will involve Regina Vs Coffin. The name above, J. Leger, refers to the under secretary of the Minister Of State for External Affairs. The Minister of External Affairs during this period was Lester B Pearson, who of course is no stranger to Canadian politics. He would go on to win a Nobel Peace prize, and become Prime Minister of Canada.
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As you can see, the Americans were mad at Ottawa. Justice Scott had muddied the waters when as a Quebec Superior Justice, he refused to extradite two fugitives whom Washington wanted, and then Ottawa snubbed the US Administration when the Supreme Court Of Canada refused to grant their appeal. The bottom line here of course is that Washington couldn't have cared less about Duplessis in Quebec, nor,about the Canadian federal government in Ottawa. It was a situation that needed to be straightened out, and it would require calm heads to do it. This is where the plot begins to thicken. . .
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From here it is necessary that we make a quick stop in Washington D C. The U S Attorney General of the United States, Mr. Brownell, is planning a trip to Canada. He is not going to Ottawa. He is going to Toronto to address The Canadian Club. He has been advised to maximize this trip to include business other than his speech to The Canadian Club. The following "Confidential" memo from the Canadian Ambassador to the United States, Mr. A. D. P. Heeney sums up the content of business to be conducted on the trip.
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.CONFIDENTIAL.
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.[Washington], November 8th, 1955
.SECURITY FRAUDS; EXTRADITION; LINK AND GREENCASE136 CONVERSATION BETWEEN THE MINISTER OF JUSTICEAND THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL, AT TORONTO, NOVEMBER 7, 1955.
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.It had been arranged through the Embassy that advantage should be taken of the presence of the United States Attorney General in Toronto on November 7th, for a private and informal discussion of this subject with the Minister of Justice, who was to be there for Mr. Brownell's speech to the Canadian Club. It had also been agreed that the United States Ambassador and I should be present. This had first been suggested at the meeting on September [26th], in Ottawa, of the Canada-United States Committee on Economic Affairs, when the Secretary of State had referred to the United States Government's concern 137.
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The conversation took place in Mr. Brownell's suite at the Royal York Hotel on the afternoon of November 7th. It was agreed by all present that it would be entirely informal and private - a frank exchange of information and views.
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The Minister, after referring to the suggestion that a "reference" be made to the Supreme Court of Canada on the points of law arising out of the judgement of Associate Chief Justice Scott of the Quebec Superior Court and describing briefly the law and procedure which govern such references, went on to explain to the Attorney General the position of a current reference to the Supreme Court in Regina v. Coffin.
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This (Coffin) reference raised difficult and delicate issues for the Federal Government in regard to the administration of justice in the Province of Quebec, since the Supreme Court would appear to be reviewing the verdict of a Quebec Court after the unanimous refusal of an appeal by the Provincial appellate court. The Government, nevertheless, had felt bound to proceed with this reference (for reasons which Mr. Garson had explained) and the hearing would take place in December.
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For the Government, the Minister went on, to make now a second reference to the Supreme Court which would reflect on the Quebec Courts (since it would at least indirectly impugn the finding of Chief Justice Scott in the Link and Green case) would exacerbate an already complicated and delicate situation. In the opinion of the Federal authorities the Scott judgement was bad law and had the effect of frustrating the purposes of the Extradition Treaty of 1952 between Canada and the United States. The Canadian authorities, like those of the United States, were anxious to rectify the position and restore the régime which the Treaty had intended.
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In due course, Mr. Garson felt, it should be possible for a reference to be made which would achieve this purpose. The Government would wish to have this done just as soon as possible.
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The Minister said that Canadian authorities had read with interest a proposal put forward by the General Counsel for the United States Securities Exchange Commission that the Extradition Treaty should be amended to provide for an appellate procedure. The Canadian Department of Justice would be interested in exploring this possibility (which from the Government's point of view would provide, at least prima facie, a politically easier course than a reference to the Supreme Court), but before doing so wished to know whether the United States Department of Justice had considered fully the implications of such an innovation in extradition procedures. Having regard to the fact that it would seem to be politically impossible to provide an appeal for the state without similar provision for the accused, Mr. Garson was inclined to think that the delays in litigation caused by such appeals might make them unworkable.
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The Attorney General said that Mr. Timbers' proposal had not been examined fully by his Department and was not now being put forward as a suggestion to the Canadian Government. He personally was inclined to think that it would be a doubtful expedient; as Mr. Garson had observed, the delays involved would probably be intolerable.
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If, Mr. Brownell continued, the situation could be restored to the pre-Link and Green position by a reference to the Supreme Court of Canada, this would be preferable from the United States point of view, provided that the lapse of time before a judgement were obtained were not too great. United States authorities were already subject to very considerable pressures and these would build up seriously when Congress got under way in January. What length of time did the Minister foresee before the Canadian Government would be willing to refer the question to the Supreme Court?
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Mr. Garson replied that unfortunately it was not possible to be precise on the timing of a reference. If his colleagues agreed to a reference (and he was awaiting the return of the Secretary of State for External Affairs before taking the matter up in Cabinet) the timing would be affected by the course of the Coffin reference and hearing. The Canadian authorities were also anxious to clear up the present unsatisfactory situation with regard to extradition for security frauds, but had obviously to take account of the considerations which he had set forth.
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I suggested, in attempting to sum up, that the two Governments had the same objective, namely to establish as promptly as possible the régime contemplated when the Treaty was negotiated. The baleful effect of the Scott judgement should be got rid of as soon as could be. The problem was one of method and timing - not objective. To this all present agreed.
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The Canadian position, I continued, had been frankly explained to the Attorney General but he would be unable to make this explanation to those in Washington who were pressing him for action. It seemed to me important, before any statement were made by the United States authorities, that agreement should be reached on the form of such statement. To this, too, there was agreement.
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Mr. Brownell expressed his appreciation of the full and candid explanation which Mr. Garson had made and it was agreed that the Minister and the Attorney General would keep in close touch with one another, through me.
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It was agreed that, in the circumstances, no purpose would be served by further suggestions from Canadian Counsel for the United States Department of Justice or others, with regard to any references that might be made to the Supreme Court or other procedures in this matter.
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On the following day, returning to Washington, I mentioned to Mr. Brownell the importance, if any reference was to be made to the Supreme Court, of avoiding any impression that this procedure was being taken under pressure from United States authorities. He readily understood this and agreed to caution his officials. When the time came that something had to be said, the two Governments would agree on the form of statement.
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A.D.P. HEENEY
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Here is a note that I discoveredat the bottom of the Ambassador's letter. I find this troubling in a democratic society.
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"The version of the memorandum reprinted here was amended in late November to take into account Garson's comments on Heeney's original draft which was removed from the files and destroyed."
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Just to make things clear, the name Garson refers to Canadian Minister Of Justice, The Honourable Stuart Sinclair Garson. I find it very troubling to see federal Ministers from any democratic society having files removed and destroyed.
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As you read this, you can perhaps see how Canada had dug a hole for herself in her relations with the United States. This all stemmed from the court decision in Quebec Superior Court by Chief Justice Scott in his refusal to order extradition proceedings against Link and Green. Equally stupid though was the refusal of The Supreme Court of Canada to hear an appeal of the process. Throughout it all, Wilbert Coffin was being used as a pawn. He was the sacrificial lamb in all these proceedings.
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In their quest to crawl back into the fold with the United States, the federal cabinet in Ottawa pulled out all the stops. There was more butt kissing at the diplomatic level in Ottawa in the final three months of 1955 than there had been in the decade since the war concluded. It is prudent to show you an example of that fact before we move on. Here is an exerpt from a memo sent by The Honourable Lester Pearson to the American Ambassador, John Foster Dulles, at a joint meeting between the two countries. You will note that the minutes of this meeting are designated as "Secret."
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Summary Record of Meeting of Joint Canada-United States Committee
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SECRET
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Ottawa, September 26, 1955
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"Mr. Pearson as Chairman expressed the sympathy of the Canadian side with President Eisenhower in his illness.127 It was to be hoped that he would soon be restored to his full health and vigour. Not only the Canadian members but all of Canada appreciated the President's attitude towards trade matters and the efforts which he was making to improve international relations generally. As the leader of the Allied Forces during the war and during the early period of NATO's history, President Eisenhower had come to belong to Canada and the other North Atlantic countries as well as to the United States."
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As you can see, The United States could do no wrong. You will note the highest praise extended to then President Eisenhower. One would think that he single handedly won the war, even though the war in Europe was practically concluded when the United States decided to enter it. Pearson obviously forgot about the thousands of Canadians who paid the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefields by his praise of the American president. The bottom line here is simply that the federal government was willing to go to the outer limits to make the United States happy during this period.
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Here are some exerpts from a letter written by Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Heeney. It is written to The Honourable Lester Pearson. If you really digest the contents of this letter, it says it all.
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Ambassador in United States to Secretary of State for External Affairs
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CONFIDENTIAL
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Dear Mr. Pearson,
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On November 9th I wrote you a personal letter, reporting upon the conversation in Toronto between your colleague, the Minister of Justice, and the United States Attorney General concerning extradition in relation to security frauds.
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In speaking to me yesterday, Mr. Garson said that he would expect you to bring up this subject in Cabinet shortly. When you did so he would be willing to agree to a reference to the Supreme Court of Canada which would rectify the present unsatisfactory situation. In this connection he mentioned again the desirability of having the question put to the Supreme Court in such a way as to avoid explicit reference to the judgement of Associate Chief Justice Scott, whence our difficulties arise. On the timing of the reference to the Court, Mr. Garson would be guided largely by the views of your Quebec colleagues, but he himself would have no objection to the reference being made reasonably soon.
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In raising the matter in Cabinet as one involving our relations with the United States, you would certainly be justified in saying to your colleagues that the present situation is one which has caused, and continues to cause, difficulties between us. Furthermore, the pressure upon the Administration to take action of some kind within the competence of the United States executive and legislature may be expected to increase sharply once Congress reassembles after Christmas.
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As you will note from my memorandum of November 8th, Mr. Brownell has agreed to consult us when he feels it necessary to make some public statement on this subject. I would hope that by that time we will be in a position to announce the reference to the Supreme Court along the lines now favoured by your colleague, the Minister of Justice.
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One final consideration - from the point of view of External Affairs, the sooner the reference is made and announced the better; from the point of view of the Government in Ottawa too I should think it is highly desirable that the reference should be made before the clamour in this country increases and the Government are put in the position of acting in response to public pressure from the United States.

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Yours sincerely,
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A.D.P. HEENEY
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As the wheels turn, the federal government is becoming mired deeper and deeper. They are faced with straightening out some bad law from Quebec. If they don't fix the decision by Chief Justice Scott from the Quebec Superior Court, the Americans will be all over them for evermore. Canada could also become a haven for criminals from the American side of the border, as the court decision did not force them to be extradited. Maurice Duplessis will be furious.
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On the other hand the federal cabinet has been asked to review the Wilbert Coffin affair. The appeal had been rejected by the Supreme Court of Canada, so any meddling on this case would again upset Duplessis. The decision now necessary for cabinet to decide was, did they really want to review The Coffin affair and get the government of Duplessis mad again? Wilbert Coffin through his lawyers was asking for a full review and an order for a new trial, based on the fact that he did not receive a fair trial and process from the beginning.
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In a following memo to the Attorney General of the United States through Ambassador Heeney, Canadian Minister of Justice, the Honourable Stuart Garson would announce that a solution had been found that should bring the matter to conclusion. As a result, the decision by Chief Justice Scott would be reversed. As well, the federal government would be free and clear of a ruling on the Regina Vs Coffin affair. Ottawa would come out not looking like they had bent to pressure from the American administration. The following extract designated "Top Secret" are from cabinet conclusions pertaining to the decision affecting the Coffin affair.
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Extract from Cabinet Conclusions
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"Top Secret"
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Circumstances had made it appear desirable to make a rather unusual reference to the Supreme Court in the recent Coffin murder case.135r It would seem undesirable to take unorthodox action with regard to this extradition difficulty so soon after the Coffin incident. It might, perhaps, be preferable to wait until such time as another judgment similar to the Scott judgment of December 17th, 1954, was rendered before taking any such action
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On the other hand, unless some action were taken, the government of Canada would likely be blamed for doing nothing to prevent the fraudulent use of the mails by unscrupulous brokers
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The Cabinet noted the report of the Minister of Justice and deferred decision on a proposed reference to the Supreme Court with regard to difficulties which had recently been encountered in the administration of the Extradition Treaty between Canada and the United States, pending further consideration at a subsequent meeting when the Secretary of State for External Affairs could be present
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On October 14, 1955 Cabinet asked the Supreme Court of Canada to review the conviction in Quebec courts of Wilbert Coffin for the 1953 murder of Richard Lindsay after suggestions were made that Coffin had not received a fair trial. Cabinet asked the court to answer the following question: "If the application made by Wilbert Coffin for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada had been granted on any of the grounds alleged on the said application, what disposition of the appeal would now be made by the court?"
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It is the last paragraph above that tossed Wilbert Coffin into the wind. His lawyers had asked the federal cabinet to review the case. This would have taken it from day one. It would have reviewed the inquest jury process, it would have reviewed the jury selection process, it would have reviewed suppressed evidence, and it would have reviewed the judges charge to the jury. None of this was ever done of course. The cabinet simply sent the case back to the Supreme Court with the above question.
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In reality the cabinet knew what the decision of the Supreme Court would be. They were the ones who had made the decision in the first place. In a round about way the government was asking the Supreme Court to re-rule and make a decision on their original ruling. One does not have to be smart to figure that a Supreme Court of Canada Justice is not about to rule against his own ruling.
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Unfortunately the government of Canada was willing to throw out and sacrifice one man's last chance for justice in this country. It could have easily been avoided. It required nothing more than an order in council to further delay the hanging of Wilbert Coffin until such time that a full and proper conclusion be reached with respect to the capital punishment being carried out.
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Fifty-one years later the federal government is once again being asked to investigate this case as a miscarriage of justice. It is a miscarriage of justice because the government allowed it to be that way.
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I am firmly of the opinion that a complete review of this case should take place. Simply asking that a review be done based on the same criteria that was done over fifty years ago is not enough. A complete review must include the admission of new evidence, meaning both evidence that was suppressed and omitted, and evidence that has surfaced since the original proceeding. There are witnesses still alive who gave statements prior to the original trial. It is imperative that these people be heard because it was their intention to give evidence. There was evidence concerning Jeeps and vehicles that was never brought forward. Again, this evidence must be presented, because originally it was intended to be part of the process.
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It is important to note that I have raised very serious concerns with reference to autopsy reports on the crime victims. A murder weapon was never found, no spent cartridges cases or bullets, no broken bones and yet the victims were declared to have died of gunshot wounds. Perforations in clothing clearly indicate they are much too large for any calibre of bullet available. There were marks on one bone, and the medical examiner stated in court the marks could have been made by a forest animal.
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In order that a full and impartial review be made of this case, it is necessary that all these things must be looked at and considered. Several of these elements made up the scope of what the federal government was being asked to do in 1955. Sadly, they chose to not do that. If they had done what was asked of them, Wilbert Coffin would not have hanged on February 10, 1956. By displaying themselves as a spineless bunch of creatures, they were able to uphold themselves as weak and inept and afraid of Duplessis, and at the same time, display their loyalty to the United States Of America as puppets on a string.
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I have published much of this information in the past, although, by the questions that I am often asked, I thought it prudent to cover it once again. In addition to a lot of new people coming onboard to learn of this travesty of justice, there are those out there pedelling an agenda to sensationalize and sell books, something that we do not approve of here on the site. Lani Mitchell and myself have worked far too many hours to have the site compromised by the embellishment of things that we know are less than factual.
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Lew Stoddard.
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*The source of much of the material contained in this article, combined with permission to reproduce, was garnered from the Federal Government archives in Ottawa for the ministry of External Affairs.
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Parts of this manuscript are protected by copyright, representing the personal work of Lew Stoddard. Reproduction in part or in whole, by whatever means for whatever reason, is not permitted without the written consent of the author, Lew Stoddard.
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Lew Stoddard
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34 comments:

Dave Taggert said...

Lew, haven't had the chance to write for awhile. Had a busy hectic fall and winter. I see you are still in it hot and heavy. Don't let them grind you down. I see you still have your share of Yahoo's as some call them as they surface from time to time.

I am still of the opinion that you will roll out on top when this is all said and done.

Dave Taggert
Kamloops, B C

Peter Jaffre said...

Mr. Stoddard,

I had always been told that it was the government of Quebec and duplesis that was fearful of losing the tourism industry there if they did not solve this. Is this something new that has only recently been discovered? It sure seems possible when you post a posting like this last one where you point out the big picture.

Perhaps you would comment on this, am curious.

Peter Jaffre
Vancouver

Lew Stoddard said...

Response to Peter Jaffre,

Hi Peter. No, we are not incorrect on this. Sure, the federal government was hopeful that the affair would not impact on the tourism industry in Quebec, but they were willing to play some poker here. The big fish was very definitely the Can/Amer treaty dealing with border jumpers.

Both Canada and The United States were willing to let Duplessis and his provincial cabinet think that they were the important ones and the stumbling blocks. Duplessis was nothing more than a pain in the back forty.

Lew Stoddard
Host "Stoddard Online"

J MacAulay said...

To Mr. Lew Stoddard,

I am most impressed by your posting today. I had no idea that this thing had reached that level within government back then. You have done an absolutely astounding job on this affair. I am taken aback by some of the high level names who were involved and the secret meetings in hotel rooms and secret letters etc.

Congratulations on a job well done, none have ever come close to this depth on this case.

J MacAulay
Thunder Bay, Ontario

Bernice K said...

You are a good writer and investigator Mr. Stoddard. I did as you instructed. I read, then I reread and it is quite easy to follow. It hurts me though to think that our politicians whom the people believe in and vote them in will turn around and do underhanded things. They were as crooked as some of the lawyers and police back then. Makes me shudder and as you say, in a democratic society.

Wilbert Coffin deserves to have his name cleared, because otherwise we are saying it was ok to a bunch of thugs.

Bernice K
Kingston

Dave Bradshaw said...

Finally this thing is making a lot of sense. Hard to believe this is Canada though. Wicked stuff. You are doing a great job.

Dave Bradshaw
Calgary, Alberta

Georgina L said...

Lew Stoddard,

Correct me if I am wrong but the picture that I see is if the federal government would have stepped in on the decisions of the Quebec courts and the Supreme courts on the Coffin affair, trouble would have happened.

That would have been done in addition to the taking over of the decision to take back the ruling on these guys that they wanted extradited. That would have really got premier Duplessis wound up losing two decisions to the higher power. Am I correct on this? I studied it over and over.

It is complicated and I will say one thing, you have a very inquisitive mind to be able to spot all this. It makes so much sense, but all the more when you read it and re-read it, both the American government and the Canadian government admit it in their correspondence to each other.

Keep going Mr. Stoddard, the country needs more like you who are not afraid to stand up and be counted. Do not let them get away with all this.

I grew up on the Gaspe' coast and attended high school there. My Dad always said he felt that the government, both federal and provincial were not telling all that happened in this matter.

I didn't understand it all until I really started getting into your writings on this affair some months ago, as my husband had been following it from the start. I now know that my Dad was correct.

Georgina L
Edmundston, New Brunswick

Jeff Landry said...

I agree with Georgina the last commenter.it is a bit complicated but quite straight foreward all the same. That was the same picture that I got out of it all as well. Duplessis would have been mad because his judicial process was being interfered with. He was actually not very smart because he fell for it when they let him think that it was the tourist business that would be breached.
I am hoping Mr. Stoddard that you may make a comment just to confirm if folks are getting to the point on all this.

Good luck to all the Coffin family, been a long rocky road but the toes now being stepped on will carry the most pain, so I think it will speed the process.

Jeff Landry
Quebec

Bev Miller said...

Comment to Lew Stoddard,

I am a bit puzzled Sir as to your hardline approach to this matter. You appear to show no interest at all that others are as well reading and offering theories on this case.

What about Mr. C Fortin who also has a site and has been studying the trial records and this Brossard report as well? He has declared that the jury was correct in finding Wilbert Coffin guilty from studying these reports. Surely this should mean something to you. I am curious about this Mr. Stoddard.

Bev Miller
Saint John, N B

Lew Stoddard said...

Response to Jeff Landry and to Bev Miller.

Firstly, thank you to all who write and ask questions. As stated many times, all one has to do is avoid signing your comments as "Anonymous" and I am pleased to respond.

Now, in the order received, Jeff, I can answer your querie and be very brief. You are quite correct. You are on the right track with reference to Maurice Duplessis and the tourism business in Quebec.

The tourism business never was the main focus of the American administration, and to take it a step further, neither was the loss of three of their citizens. Sure they were concerned but as I showed you in my report, there were much bigger fish to fry.

Jeff, to sum up, thanks for writing, and stay tuned, because if this interested you, you shall be elated when you read about the autopsy and ballistic reports.

Hi Bev, Thank you as well for your questions and comments.

You state that I exhibit a hard line approach to this matter, and don't express a lot of interest in the theories of others.

Bev, Thank you for noticing. You are quite correct. I do have a hard line approach to this case, a very hard line approach indeed.

You see Bev, this case, since 1953 has been riddled with theories, and look at the mess it is still in. That is what can happen, that is why I do not get too excited when another comes merrily down the road touting another theory about the case. I believe in freedom of expression and speech in general. That is why this site is conducted in the manner that it is.

In the past two years you could not begin to imagine the number of theories that have been sent to Lani Mitchell and myself. That is why, at a very early stage in the game we made a decision. That decision was that if we could not offer supporting documentation, then it would get tossed. As a result lots went "out the window" but on the top side, we were able to build a very strong murder case against someone other than Wilbert Coffin.

You must remember, to find Wilbert Coffin guilty now based on the trial transcripts, you are trying him on exactly the same format as back in 1954, however; take the same trial, add on the evidence that was covered up, the evidence that was suppressed, and the ways and means that many things were done, and I will suggest to you, there would have been no defense "to rest", because there would have been no trial.

Thanks again for your comments,

Lew Stoddard
Host of "Stoddard Online"

C J Dafoe said...

You are abrupt and to the point sir in your comments. It is true, you seem to have learned about this case inside and out. that is impressive and it shows your determination.
It seems to me like this was really a case of Wilbert Coffin being in the wrong place at the right time to get nailed in all this. looks like it could have happened to anyone who came along under those circumstances.
I do not see why there should be a problem with the authorities overturning the affair when you can prove that they did all these ythings wrong like you have.

C J Dafoe
Toronto

R Corey said...

I am anxious for you to talk again about about the autopysys and searches. My grand father helped with the searches back in 1953 and he often told us the story of some of the things that went on and the sloppy way in which the searches were carried out. It was not done on purpose that way as it was just that people did not understand.
My grand father worked with the pulp and paper company and he knew the area quite well. Many people were afraid of some of those officers of Quebec who came there.

R Corey
Grand Falls, N B

K. McNeil said...

Sir, you talk of manipulation all the time. I see what you mean. This last posting shows manipulation at its finest. Especially when you mix the Americans into the batter, it becomes all the more evident. Keep after them.

Ken McNeil
Moncton, N B

Jim Kennedy said...

This stuff about the Brossard inquiry has nothing to do with the Wilbert Coffin trial. This took place I believe almost 10 years after.

As you have said if ones relies on the transcripts of the trial in 1954 it is easy to come out of it with a very circumstantial conviction. On the other hand if you insert all the evidence suppression, and the ways and means, never would the trial have even gone ahead.

To believe that everything was done properly, one is as guilty as the judiciary of the day that made it all possible.

Jim Kennedy
Gaspe Coast

F Gee said...

I have not seen a lot on here from the Coffin family lately. I am sure this is very hard on them. Are you sure you are doing the right thing by keeping this thing going? I think it is time that you considered that.

F Gee
Shediac

D maguire said...

Mr. Stoddard
The thing that really bothers me is the fact that you are so down on law enforcement officers. I have looked back into your archives on this affair and you have never let up from the beginning.

Don't you realize we need officers and should show respect for them. This is my opinion but I am curious as to what your agenda really is.

D Maguire
Niagara Falls

margo roberts said...

Hello everyone:

This is in response to F Gee of Shediac. It is true that the Coffin family has not put many comments up lately but that doesn't mean that we are not reading and studying the information that Lew and Lani have worked so hard to uncover and make public. We appreciate their work more than words can convey. Finally after all these years we actually dare to hope that maybe, maybe this time things will be different and Uncle Bill's name will be cleared.
The comments that have been posted have helped a lot with the healing process in our lives. I for one, did not realize the support there was for our cause from one end of Canada to the other. As for the negative comments that appear once in a while, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and we try our best to ignore them.
I don't ever remember my Mom telling me this but I grew up with the belief that a person can not fight the government and win. Thanks to this site and the work of AIDWYCK I have come to think that maybe....just maybe...that belief was wrong and this time the outcome will be different.
Lew and Lani thanks once again for your support and tireless work on this case. May God richly bless you both.

Uncle Bill's niece,
Margo Roberts
Kinosota, MB

David White said...

Now that you are into the government intervention of this affair does that indicate that your investigation of the actual crimes is now complete?

David White
Winnipeg

Joan Myers said...

Going backwards in this story for a moment, was it ever established that Wilbert Coffin ever had money prior to thid affair? I am not suggesting large sums of money because I don't think that anyone in Gaspe' had that but I am talking about comfortable amount to live on.

Joan Myers
Amherst, N S

Barbara Cowan said...

I think that I tend to agree with F Gee as well from Shediac. Some far reaching members of the family may agree with an ongoing story, but I really do not think that close family members would agree. I am sure they want to put this behind them when you consider all that is coming to light.

Barbara Cowan
Moncton

Anonymous said...

to Barbara Cowen

I just want to tell you that while this case is painful to the family, the last thing we want is for the media coverage to stop. My mother Marie Coffin Stewart has been fighting this night and day for so many years along with the rest of the family. James Coffin, his son will be walking across Canada this year for the purpose of raising awareness of what happened to his dad. We the Coffin family are deeply grateful to each and everyone who is fighting with us to get this in front of the gov't and keep it there till Uncle Bill's name is restored to what it should have been all along. Then and only then can we rest from doing our best and praying that others like Lew, Lani, Aidywc and all the other media will keep pounding on the govt's door demanding justice be served. The pain for the family is there constantly with or without public exposure. The difference with media coverage is that we now have hope that while we could not get the gov't to listen with all the people backing us in our demands like my cousin Margo has said maybe just maybe this time there will be justice, this time we may fight gov't and win. The more that comes to light and the more the people of Canada hear about it the better our chances of getting a reversal of this terrible injustice. So Barbara having said that will you help us will you tell your friends about Lew's site and what Aidwyc is doing and get them to write or speak to their members of parliment demanding that the gov't do what is right and clear my Uncle's name.
diane peter
uncle Bill's niece

Anonymous said...

Lew, Lani, Aidwyc
A very very big thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our family.
God Bless you all
dianepeter
uncle Bills niece

Margo Roberts said...

This is in response to Barbara Cowen.
I would like to set the record straight. I am not a far reaching member of the Coffin family. In fact quite the contrary is true. My mother was Rhoda Coffin, her brother was Wilbert Coffin. I had the blessing of growing up in the family home- the same home U. Bill grew up in. I lived in that house until I was married. I did not move away from Gaspe until I was 35years old and even though miles seperate us I am still in almost daily contact with family members in Gaspe.
Another blessing I had was the daily contact with my grandparents. My grandmother, U. Bill's mother, was still alive when I was married and moved out of the family home. What a blessing she brought to my life!!

While she was alive my mother took every opportunity she could to clear her brother's name. Now that she is no longer with us we, her children, are doing our best to continue her efforts.

In your comment you state. "I am sure they want to put this behind them when you consider all that is coming to light." I do not understand what you mean by this statement. It is impossible for any of us "to put this behind us" as it is never far from our minds.

Certainly it is difficult to read some of the postings especially since we have lived through it all. Does that mean we want Lew to stop? Absolutely NOT. Lew and Lani have never published anything that can not be documented. It is the truth that will set people free.

I believe the only way the government is going to admit to anything is if pressure is kept on them through the media. Once again thank you to Lew, Lani and everyone who has come forward with information. We appreciate you.

U. Bill's niece
Margo Roberts
Kinosota, MB

Wendall Stanley said...

A close Family Member……

My family has been fighting for justice for over 50 years now. The wheels have been set in motion and they will not stop until Wilbert Coffin's name has been cleared. We will not stop; we will never just sweep this under the rug and say it is OK and that all is well and just with our Justice System.

To F Gee from Shediac

You are so very correct when you say that you are sure this is very hard on us, it is, and always has been. You see I was born in the fall of 1953 that would put me at just over 3 years old when Uncle Bill was executed. As a child of such a tender age you perhaps would not think that one would still today have any memories of this sordid affair. Yet today I remember the people that came to our home to pay their last respects to Uncle Bill. I can still remember him being laid out in the old parlor. That was the first and only time that I would ever see him. I have other memories as well but they shall remain private.

When you say, Are you sure you are doing the right thing by keeping this thing going?

Are you really asking us to just sweep this under the rug, forget it ever happened?

Are you saying that it is ok for an elected public official not to be accountable for his/her own actions?

Are you really saying that it is acceptable to know the difference between right and wrong and allow the wrongs never to be made right?

Are you saying that it is acceptable to continue punishing the innocent for crimes committed by others and have the law breakers walk among us?

I could continue on with these questions but I think that you get the gist of it.

Without the vast amount of time and hard work by Mr. Lew Stoddard and Lani Mitchell, an immeasurable number of Canadians would still be in the dark about the goings on with this case. The Wilbert Coffin Case has being shrouded with secrets and cover-ups for far too many years. Now is the time to pick up the banner and wave it up high and say “We’re Not Going To Take This Any More”. Send e-mails to your elected Member of Parliament. Share the information you have learned here from Mr. Stoddard’s site with your friends and family members. With your help and the help of all Canadians the government will have to do something.

In closing I have one more thing to say.

Yes, we do not comment here that much but it is most definitely not because of any thing that Lew has uncovered or posted on his site. The fact is we can not ever thank Lew and Lani enough for their efforts.


Wendall M Stanley
Nephew of Wilbert Coffin
Gaspé, Quebec

Janice St. Pierre said...

A moving tribute to be sure from Mr. Stanley. I simply cannot begin to imagine the turmoil that this would cause in any family.

I am amazed at the stuff that Lew Stoddard and Lani Mitchell have dug up on this affair. It boggles the mind.

I have read things on this site in the past two years that goes far beyond the boundaries of a normal case, and yet the officials of the day were allowed to simply walk away from it all.

There were things done that were so illegal, and yet they were allowed to seep into the case and help form the basis of a guilty verdict and send a man to his death.

This guy that is running around Quebec at the present time advocating Mr. Coffin's guilt has no knowledge of the case at all. He is only taking what was watered down and used as evidence at trial. I agree with Mr. Stoddard that this Brossard Commission is nothing more than window dressing. It is not studying the guilt or innocence of Wilbert Coffin, it was trying to convince the public that the antics of a bunch of thugs as you call them was ok, when in fact they were really studying and reporting on themselves.

Anyone who really supports this garbledy gook is just as guilty as the judiciary bunch were back in the 1950's.

Janice St. Pierre
Quebec

James Coffin said...

its amazing to sit here and read all your comments about the case its still the same as it was the day my dad was arrested and his sisters and bothers were asking for funds to help get a good lawyer for him we have always been a poor family that's why the government could get away with what they did i posted for help on here back on Feb 29 from each and everyone but as then and as of today there has not been a penny come in not even suggestions on how to help or how to raise funds for my walk across Canada to help raise funds for Aidwyc we are so close to getting justice done now but we still need a call from each and every person across this beautiful country of ours it's not the people that did dad wrong but the government of the time and we are now asking this new government of our time to help correct what was done and as all of you know they only help whose who make the most noise Aidwyc has told me they will be helping with the news media the funds i ask for are for the cost of the walk from here i have till May 1 to raise the funds to be able to pull off the walk (in case you don't know it i've been training for the walk since last Oct 23 which is my dads birthday till now i now am up to walking 6 hours at a time and a pace of 6 to 6,5 km an hour each day and have just pasted the 2500 km mark yesterday) but that's enough about me how are you going to help other than words about how can this happen in our country for crying out loud my Aunt Marie has been picking one blueberry at a time baking cookies and knitting blankets to raise funds for Aidwyc its time we all stop leaving it up to the next person to do the helping what the funds are for is to cover my expensive on route as well as my bills at home as i walk across from here in BC now is the time to show up everybody this message is not only for all our friends on here but for family as well if you really and truly want to see a good ending come of all of this now is the time to step up and help

the walk will take almost four months to complete it will begin on June 15 and end in Ottawa on Sept 23 and will cost just short of $15,000 all money raised on route will be turned over to Aidwyc on the 23 of Sept on the lawn of Parliament so come on friends and family lets do this for dad and for everyone who needs help from Aidwyc



James Coffin

the proud son of Wilbert

Bent said...

James, it is a shame that none of us have responded yet. This includes yours truly. People, we have to get off our collective duffs and show some support for Jim Coffin.
But Jim, in your long plea that you just wrote, I could not find an address to send the money to. Once you post an address or account number for a bank transfer, I will be the FIRST one to contribute $50.00. At the same time, I challenge each and every one of you who read the Stoddard Blog site to do the same. Or if $50 is too heavy a load, maybe even 20 or 10.
Let us all show that our heart is in the right place.
Jim is sacrificing greatly for the sake of his Dad. All the money is going to AIDWYC, of whom I am a member and know that they can use every penny that comes in.

sincerely
Bent
proud friend of Jim Coffin

Len Everett in Winnipeg said...

Hi Mr. Stoddard, thank you for the response to my e-mail. Nice that you took the time out of a busy schedule to personally respond.

Would it be possible to send me a short e-mail the day before you are going to post that special report that you told me about concerning the autopsies. That really blows my mind, and will for sure make lots sit up and pay attention.

Once again, thanks a lot for a job well done.

Len Everett
Winnipeg

G Conroy said...

It is startling to learn that the federal government of Canada would sacrifice one of our own citizens as a way of easing a decision that they messed up through our court system. There is absolutely no reason that a stay of execution could not have been put into place until a proper study was done. This is deplorable.

G Conroy
Victoria

Lew Stoddard said...

\Special Message To All My Readers From Lew Stoddard

I want each and everyone of you to ponder this thought. "It took 19 days of trial for the Wilbert Coffin affair on the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence, with not a thread of hard physical evidence, and yet, it took only 31 minutes of deliberation time to sentence him to hang by the neck until he was dead. In real terms, the total deliberation time expended was approximately 1 minute and 26 seconds for each day of trial proceedings. A truly disgusting fact.

Lew Stoddard
Host Of "Stoddard Online"

Bent said...

Yes, Lew, you won't believe how many hours I have pondered what you said.
It was the same in Steven Truscott's trial. There the trial lasted 14 days and the jury found him guilty in less than two hours if I remember my figures... and in the same second as the guilty verdict was read, the sentence was handed down by the Judge..to hang by your neck until you are dead and may the Lord have mercy upon your soul. This was a 14 year old kid they passed judgment on.

Luckily for Steve AND us the sentence was changed to life in prison.

Today Steven is a free man and found innocent of the murder.

What if the sentence had not been commuted? WHAT IF?

As cold as this sounds, here is the reality: We have the blood of Wilbert Coffin on our hands. We, the Canadian people, voted for the government who hired the cops and lawyers and appointed the judges who ultimately killed Mr Coffin.

A chilling thought.
Bent

James Coffin said...

Message from James Coffin:

Hi everyone. Just a note to let you know that my computer was down for a few days, so was unable to get back with the update regarding my upcoming walk.

First of all, I want to say Thanks to those showing an interest. This is what will make it happen.

I want to let you know that due to the lateness of the season, I have decided to make a change with respect to my journey in my Dad's name.

After careful consideration, I have decided to commence my walk in Perce', on the Gaspe' coast in Quebec, proceeding up the St. Lawrence River, and then on to a final destination on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

In the next few days, I will publish an exact itinerary of the proposed journey.

As I have pointed out in the past, we need all the help that we can muster, and thanks to those who have come aboard recently.

If you would like to reach me by mail, you are welcome to do so at the following address.

Mr. James Coffin
1503 Smith Road
Gibsons, British Columbia
V0N 1V6

Once again, thank you, and I look forward to meeting many of you in the next few months.

James Coffin
,

Lew Stoddard said...

A message to the person who just left me a comment regarding French and English languages.

As I have stated many times, if you are respectful of the fact that you must provide your name on the comment, I would be more than pleased to address your comment. I am guessing though that you won't and there is a reason for that.

As a matter of fact, I would be most punctual in replying to that particular comment. The deal is, the same comment, no changes to be made, and provide your name. That is all there is to it.

Lets move forward now, it is time to turn your cards over or fold.

Lew Stoddard
Host Of "Stoddard Online"

J Martell said...

Hi Lew,

Just as we predicted on the phone yesterday about the guy spouting off about the languages. Knew he would not give his name. Strange that a guy such as that one who is supposed to be a professional person would carry on like a 12 year old. I thought his profession spelled honour. At least we know who he is.

Great challenge that you put to him by making a poker hand out of it.

J Martell
Montreal