11 July 2017
For the first time since 14-year-old Steven was sentenced to the death penalty and then commuted to life imprisonment in September 1959, the book surfaced hundreds of concealed details & evidence which had been overlooked by police, lawyers, pathologists, journalists and the judge. Her book brought into question the integrity of the trial and ultimately the guilty verdict.
In fact, Isabel’s book pushed the federal government of Canada to ask the Supreme Court of Canada to re-examine the trial and verdict because there was strong evidence to support Steven’s innocence and strong evidence to indicate police falsified prosecution’s evidence which resulted in the guilty sentencing.
Although the Court of Appeal did meet with Steven in 1966, prior to Isabel’s book, they did not change the verdict or sentencing and he remained imprisoned until he was 24 in 1969. I
n 2007, the 60-year-old Steven brought the matter to court again. This time the Court of Appeal found there had been a gross “miscarriage of justice” which needed to be “quashed” and his sentence was revoked. Later, in 2008, he was granted $6.5 million for compensation for his ordeal.
What does this all have to do with dreamwork?
Isabel is arguably one of the most important Canadian journalists in the short history of this nation. Her work contributed to the release of a young man who was innocent. Her book was so controversial at the time that she truly put her life in danger by publishing what she did. But she did it anyway.
I was thinking of Isabel this morning.
How differently would things have been for her if she had access to an internet? To a blog? To social media platforms?
The really unique thing about what I do as a journalist which I’ve never seen anyone else do, is that when I investigate really tough-to-swallow cases like organized rape & murder of children or rape & trafficking of children, then I have nightmares. It would be impossible for me to see the photos I see, watch the footage I watch, listen to the testimonies I do without it having an effect on my psyche. I’m absolutely sure that the reason detective investigators have this stereo-type of being reclusive alcoholics who isolate themselves in dark, smokey rooms with a pipe and a bottle of whiskey is because the nature of the work is so damn hard.
But I don’t drink. Have no interest in drugs and really enjoy social gatherings. But some elements of the cases I research sometimes trouble me. I am always in awe of how perfect the dreamworld is.
What I’ve come to learn is that when a case really bothers me, like the events leading up to the murder of Kristen French in St. Catharines, Ontario in 1992, or Tori in Woodstock in 2009, or Lynne Harper in 1959, then I have nightmares which shed light on my unconscious fears. When I work through these real life and dreamworld nightmares I gain capacities & skills which make me stronger and better able to work on some of the most horrific cases of crime in our nation.
I don’t like horror movies; they give me nightmares.
But I like investigating into the mind of real serial killers because when the nightmares come it actually strengths me as an individual and as a journalist.
I recently visited the location of the bridge where Steven Truscott & Lynne Harper were last seen together on June 09, 1959. He said he dropped her off at the corner of HWY 8 and saw her get into a late model Chevy. Police said he never crossed that bridge and instead took her into a field where he raped and murdered her. Within 2 days of finding Lynn’s body 14-year-old Steven was arrested and incarcerated. At a 15-day trial in September an all-male jury found him guilty and sentenced him to the death penalty – this was the first time the death penalty had been given in Canada sine 1875. Four months later, the death penalty was removed and he was sentenced to life imprisonment. Remember though, fifty years later he was proven to be innocent and in fact he did just as he said he did – he rode Lynne to the corner and then returned to his circle of friends half an hour later.
When I went out to the location of this crime, which occurred just one hour outside of London, Ontario, I had a few nightmares afterwards (which I wrote about and scheduled to be released on this blog in the next couple months).
The real nightmare is that the real killer got away. While the police, RCMP, media and entire city of Huron County were turning against Steven & his family, accusing him of some of the most heinous and unthinkable crimes, the real killer was sitting back and watching the news. He got away with it. More details of the real killer have surfaced since 1997 and evidence has surfaced which points a finger at the most likely suspect who was a military man living and working nearby the place where Lynne was killed. He had a history of sexual deviancy AND trained ability to carry out the crime in a way which was consistent with the evidence. He died in 1975 of alcoholism.
I’ve included a few photos here of the small residential area just outside of Clinton, Ontario where Steven and Lynne lived in 1959.
Visiting this area made me feel physically sick and I had a headache for two days afterwards. My dreams following the visit were messy & chaotic. I felt disorientated and weak for 48 hours. What baffles me the most is how an entire county could overlook the common sense logic that it was IMPOSSIBLE to do what the OPP & RCMP were suggesting was done. And an entire county, no, the entire nation of Canada persecuted this young boy, accused him of guilty, before he was even given a fair trial.
How did the RCMP, RCAF and OPP get away with covering up the real details of this crime and how did they get away with “selling the public” the falsified and IMPOSSIBLE story of a young 14-year-old boy doing what was impossible for him to do?
It’s these questions and others like it which compels me to continue doing the work I do.
So, I’m an investigative journalist and I share my nightmares online. That’s what I do.