Monday, November 17, 2008

THE FACTS OF THE MATTER.
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I am of the conviction that if a story is told and embellished enough times someone may start to believe it. In other words, the more bizzare it is, coupled with some new hype and certain people will take a stab at rewriting history. You see, many stories and events in their true form are dull and boring, so sometimes certain writers may find it necessary to "Jazz" it up a bit. I borrowed that word from my teen age niece, but I do agree with her.
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Of course I am making reference to the Wilbert Coffin case here. More specifically, to certain elements of the case. We have seen and heard a lot about those pesky little vehicles called Jeeps in the past fifty years. You know the ones I mean, the ones that were thrown away by Crown Assets Disposal after the Second World War. You could pick them up for as little as fifty bucks at an auction, thus making them available to not just the affluent, but to the poor as well. Affectionately, they were known as the poor man's Cadillac in many circles.
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For the sake of those seven or eight people who may read a particular site on the internet about the Wilbert Coffin affair there are a couple of things that you should remember or be made aware of before you get your knickers tied in a knot. I am speaking of the gospel according to Fortin.
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There are several elements that sets the site to which I refer apart from what you read on "Stoddard Online." You see, and I mention this often, nothing gets published on my site unless it can be backed up with documentation. That documentation may consist of a true documented account, personal interviews with subjects involved, or a combination of both. This space has not in the past been over overrun with hearsay, is not currently, nor will it be in the future. To borrow a line from Ford Motor Company, that rule is "Job One" on this site.
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Reference is constantly made about Wilbert Coffin's sworn statement to the police concerning the vehicle in the area of the Lindsey's when he returned young Richard to the site.. I have yet to see that sworn statement and there is a very good reason. The reason is because Wilbert Coffin did not make a sworn statement to police. Anything that Wilbert Coffin had to say to the police they most certainly would not have wanted in sworn context and the reason is very simple. The police were only interested in garnering a confession, nothing more, nothing less. What they got was Wilbert Coffin steadfast in his statement proclaiming his innocence.
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True there were hearsay statements presented at trial about this vehicle that Wilbert Coffin saw. The one key element that was missing at the trial concerning this vehicle was the one who saw the vehicle himself, Wilbert Coffin. You will recall he wished to give evidence at trial. You will further recall that it was a dead beat defense lawyer by the name of Maher who denied him that chance, thus the hearsay evidence was accepted. Further to that, Sergeant Henri Doyon of the Quebec Provincial Police was portrayed as nothing short of a liar because he did not give evidence consistent with what the crown wanted about this vehicle.
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Wilbert Coffin did make a sworn deposition regarding his case. This is where this other web site that I allude to is obviously confused. As several folks pointed out in my last posting, this other site is constantly monitoring my whereabouts, so once again I shall do my part and set them straight so that they may get their facts straightened out.
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While waiting to be hanged at Bordeaux Jail in Montreal, Wilbert Coffin made a 49 point deposition. In the deposition Wilbert Coffin outlined his case to Arthur Maloney QC, touted to be one of the best criminal lawyers in Canada past and present. Also in attendance was Antonio Pilon. Wilbert Coffin decsribes in detail the vehicle that he witnessed. I am in possession of that deposition. I will share with you the following which is an exerpt from that sworn deposition:
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22) On October 8 1955 I had an interview with my lawyers, Mr. Arthur Maloney CR of Toronto and Mr. Francois Gravel of Quebec and gave them the explanations about particular facts that they raised during the interview. I will state now these particular facts in the following paragraphs.
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23) Mr. Maloney produced a photograph of a jeep with part of the body that was made of plywood, designed like Exhibit A in this declaration. In this declaration Mr. Maloney said that he had obtained this photograph from the Toronto Evening England that presented it as the photograph of a jeep that had been found in New Brunswick. After studying the photograph, I couldn’t judge if this was the same jeep as the one that occupied the two Americans I met with the Lindsay group. The fact that the two jeeps resemble each other, and that the two were constructed in the same way. The jeep I saw, occupied by the two Americans seemed to be constructed as though the plywood wasn’t put there by a manufacturer, but by someone with less experience in this kind of work, and it seemed to me that it was stained with some kind of oil or varnish. It could be that the jeep in the photograph marked exhibit A was the same jeep but I couldn’t swear to it.
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Let us now refer to paragraphs 41 and 42 in the deposition;
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41) During the time I was in the company of the police and the group of searchers in the region of the camps, I distinctly remember on the road the tracks made by a jeep. I remember seeing such tracks between camps 24 & 25, and on different places on the access road in the region. I particularly instructed Mr. Maher, my lawyer, to try and have photos taken of these tracks as I felt that they still would be visible. No one took these photos. I am now in the belief that Sergeant Doyon had said to Mr. Gravel that he also had seen the jeep tracks.
It arrives that neither the ;lawyers for the Crown nor the defense lawyers had ever poised that particular question during the trial. On the contrary, the lawyers for the Crown pretended in front of the jury that there were no jeep tracks in the region. In other words, they exploited evidence that the recent admission of Sergeant Doyon demonstrated to be a falsehood.
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42) The lawyers of the Crown brought Dr. Burkett and Mr. Ford, who admitted being in GaspĂ© in a jeep but who proved they left the region June 5. In the process, they tried to imply that I wanted to throw the blame on them. Nothing could be further from the truth, because M. Burkett and Ford definitely weren’t the men I saw in the company of Lindsay June 10 1953.
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The following represents paragraphs 47 to 49 inc.
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47) The details given in this declaration are made to my lawyers Mr. Arthur Maloney C.R. and Mr. Francois De B. Gravel Saturday October 8. They have retained the services of a stenographer and dictated the statement I gave them after checking that I found it exact.
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48) I repeat that I am innocent of this crime and I don’t feel I had a fair trial, mainly because the evidence concerning the other jeep and the other Americans in the district of GaspĂ© wasn’t produced and the evidence of the existence of the tire tracks of a jeep on the road in the vicinity of the camps wasn’t mentioned at all.
They made me out to be a liar because they proved that Dr Burkett and Mr. Ford weren’t the men that I saw when I left the Lindsay group, and new evidence now proves that another jeep and other Americans were in the district. The police reporting on my case knew that and didn’t say it.
It also is now proved by Sergeant Doyon in his deposition to my lawyer M. Francois Gravel that there were jeep tracks on the route.
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49) I would be pleased to be given the chance to be questioned by a member of the Ministry of Justice of our Federal Government to be able to explain at length all that I’ve said here, and all that again would be necessary.
Signed in the prison of Montreal, Bordeaux, Que.
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9 October 1955
(S) Wilbert Coffin.
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Witnessed in front of me at the Bordeaux prison
This day of 9th October 1955
J.- Antonio Pilon
Juge de Paix, district of Montreal.
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As you can see, what was actually a sworn deposition differs greatly as to what is touted as a sworn statement to police. Due to dirty deeds by the crown, Wilbert Coffin never got a chance to address his case. Equally important, you can easily see that statements given to the police were twisted and fabricated to bolster the crown's case.
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In the case of the reported sightings of a vehicle by Dr. Mimi Wilson, it is particularly interesting as she is very much still alive and I have interviewed her twice. She was not called to testify at the trial because the crown chose to not advise her when the trial was on. Consequently, her evidence was never brought forward to trial. She still wants to be heard though. In Gaspe', Fabien Sinnett, also very much alive, saw a vehicle as well on the days in question. He reported it to police, but like Mrs. Wilson, was not called to testify. His testimony would have also helped Wilbert Coffin, and to this day, he is willing to testify as he does not feel that justice was served. Having had the opportunity to interview both these people, there is one statement that both parties made that is common to this case. I have purposely not reported this statement so as to not compromise their statements. As you can no doubt see, I am patiently waiting to get a look at this vehicle reported by Mrs. Wilson. It should be interesting as there are no pictures available, and yet Mr. Fortin says we will take a look at it. This is where the above held back statement will hit it's mark.
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As you can see Wilbert Coffin did not give evidence about a bunch of gawdy colors. He merely stated that the plywood on the vehicle looked like it was covered by oil or by some sort of varnish.
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In the case of his mother, one would not expect an elderly lady to necessairly be precise in a description. Afterall, she never said that she had seen the vehicle. She was only basing what she remembered from a conversation many months before.
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As usual, I am looking forward to your comments. I encourage comments from all, just three basic rules, topical, no profanity, and complete with the authors name. Further I wish to thank you for such a nice cross section of Remembrance Day messages. Stay tuned as there is a big one coming up in just a few days. God Bless You, one and all. . .
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Lew Stoddard

2 comments:

Greg Mulcaster said...

There are some who I guess that just wants to scuttle other peoples work. I looked at this site that you speak about approx 5 months ago. obvious he is looking for something for free. He copies transcripts and says that is the way it was. These two guys are supposed to be lawyers? come on, give me a break.

Greg Mulcaster
Niagara Falls

D Creighton said...

Mr. Fortin was not aware of Coffins deposition that is for sure as otherwise he would not publish some of the stuff that he does.

D Creighton
Moncton