Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Prior to getting back to a regular posting routine of the Wilbert Coffin case, there are a few things that folks have requested of me by e-mail for clarification. As I have been battling health issues, I have been unable to post with the frequency that has been possible in the past. Hopefully, those issues are behind me now for awhile, and I will now address a couple of things.
Firstly, there have been a few folks asking about the Brossard Inquiry and its significance to the murder conviction of Wilbert Coffin. Apparently, there is a web site with the mandate to pursue the Brossard Inquiry transcripts, and tie them in with the finding of guilt of Wilbert Coffin.
As readers of this site, you will have learned that Wilbert Coffin was found guilty in Perce', Quebec in 1954 for the murder of Richard Lindsey. I have also alluded to the fact many times that the Brossard Inquiry took place nearly ten years after the trial, and approximately eight years after Wilbert Coffin's execution.
Based on this knowledge, you may be asking why the Brossard Inquiry was necessary, and if so, what was gained on conclusion? In simple terms, in my opinion, the inquiry was not necessary and nothing was gained on conclusion.
You must understand the Brossard Inquiry was not an appeal of Wilbert Coffin's conviction, nor was it an appeal of his sentence. In my view the inquiry was nothing more than a selfish move by the government and the judiciary of Quebec in a vain attempt to absolve themselves of the appearance of any wrong doing, when it could be demonstrated that a man was hanged based on a trial that was unfair and in many instances illegal. It is also important to note that many of those charged with the responsibility of a fair and impartial inquiry were the same ones who had headed the steering committee on the original police investigation. I speak specificially of John Vanhoutte and others. In effect, John Vanhoutte was investigating himself.
The journalist, later to become Senator, the late Jacques Hebert brought much heat on the judiciary of Quebec during those days. The inquiry was portrayed as a means of bringing Mr. Hebert to task for his actions, however there are apparently some who now preach the findings of the Brossard Inquiry as part of the finding of guilt of Mr. Coffin.
I have had the opportunity to look over the Brossard transcripts in detail, and one does not have to be a genious to quickly discover that questions asked of witnesses at the inquiry were well placed to focus information in a different direction than that made available for scrutiny by the jury at the perce' trial. One must also ponder the very real possibility that after a time lapse of almost ten years, it is reasonable to assume that answers to some questions may vary. Think for a moment, do you remember in the finest of detail the conversation that you may have had with someone nearly ten years ago?
Another aspect of this inquiry that renders it useless is the fact that information could be taken out of context from the original trial. Questions could be asked of the same witness, but I do notice that the questions could be worded in a slightly different manner, and thus the answer given at trial differs from that of the inquiry.
I do stress that before you base your thoughts on guilt or innocence from what you are being presented from the Brossard Inquiry you should consider all the variables and draw conclusions only after you see the full story presented from the trial. Afterall, it was the trial at Perce' that convicted Wilbert Coffin, not some travelling dog and pony act.
It is blatently obvious that the trial of Wilbert Coffin was a very flawed process. It was the result of this flawed process that I believe robbed a man of his life.
In the next few days we shall be hitting this trial in a heavy handed way. The forensic report will prove that. This is stuff that you will never read about in the Brossard Inquiry transcripts. In addition, I shall expose a couple of letters written by John Vanhoutte and Captain Matte. These I guarantee you will not see in the Brossard Inquiry, because if the information contained in these files had been brought up at trial, there would have been no Brossard Inquiry because the trial could have ended.
Thanks once again in a big way folks for being patient. I shall be back in a few days. As you know, I am a man of few words but we do our best out here on the west coast of Canada. God Bless You, one and all.
Lew Stoddard


Dave Taggert said...

Thats what I like to see Lew, you are full of "vim and vigor." Glad to hear you are doing much better health wise.

Glad to see you sort out that Brossard stuff. You make lots of sense in what you said today on here.

Hey Lew the fishing is good up here in Kamloops!

Dave Taggert

George Kovacs said...

Pleased to see your comments about that Brossard inquiry. I think some people mistake that for the trial

George Kovacs

M. McIntyre said...

Give'em Hell Lew. Full steam ahead. You know more about this case than anyone and I mean that.

M. McIntyre

Rick Willett said...

Hi Lew;
So good to have you back on the case. Elsie sends her best wishes. Look forward to hearing next posts.
Loads of Love - Rick

Bill McLure said...

Certainly with the way that you present comparisons between the trial and this so called inquiry there should be no question that it was nothing but a screwball idea back then to sway the public from thinking bad things about the judiciary. This is particularly sad and embarassing in a democratic society called Canada.

It is time for the politicians to make this thing right. As others have stressed to you Lew Stoddard do not give up. You make more sense on all this than the judiciary of the past and others who have written about it.

Glad to hear that your health is improving.

Bill McLure

Joyce said...

Ditto for me on the last comment. This was all so terrible on the part of the authorities that it is scary. And yes it did happen here in Canada. It is so shocking to see on an almost weekly basis in this country someone being exonerated for a serious crime of years ago when it is proven beyond a doubt that they were innocent.

Just look at what has happened in Ontario in the past few months. Here we see direct proof over and over that just because a provincial judiciary declared guilt, many people were incarcerated on some trumped up charge, or simply because they did not have good legal representation.

The law profession in this land must share some of the blame for all this, but don't hold your breath because that would mean that one group of lawyers may have to tear apart anothers findings and that brings the profession into chaos.

Walk boldly into the final stretch on this Mr. Stoddard. I and many others are behind you all the way, and have the greatest respect and admiration for your efforts and dedication for such a long hard effort on all this.

Bristol New Brunswick