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Injustice revealed?

BY KEITH LACEY klacey@northernlife.

In their own small way, over the past four years, dozens of paralegal and law clerk students at Sudbury?s CTS College may have helped a southern Ontario man in his bid to regain his good name after being convicted of murder at age 14 more than 45 years ago.

Mona Primeau, a teacher at Sudbury?s CTS College, became fascinated with the Truscott case when she was a young girl growing up in southern Ontario.
The accused, Stephen Truscott, who is now almost 60 years old, was convicted in 1959 of murdering a 12-year-old female schoolmate.

Sentenced to an adult prison, Truscott spent a long stint on death row back when Canada still had the death penalty. He ended up serving a 10-year sentence before being released on parole. Truscott has spent much of his adulthood trying to clear his name and has steadfastly maintained his

Truscott has received a lot of national publicity over the past few years in his quest to clear his name. Several popular television programs like CTV?s W5 and CBC?s The Fifth Estate have examined his case.

The Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled it will hear an appeal of Truscott?s case, which is expected to begin in late 2006 or early 2007.

Truscott?s legal team will be asking the Court of Appeal to overturn the conviction and register an acquittal.

Mona Primeau, who has been teaching paralegal students at CTS College for five years, said she became fascinated by the case when she was a young girl growing up in southern Ontario.

?I read about this case when I was a little girl about 12 years of age and it really was the reason I decided to enter the legal profession,? said Primeau.

Four years ago during a class in Sudbury, she mentioned Truscott?s case to students and they made it clear they wanted to get involved.

She contacted Truscott and his family and they had no objection to Primeau and her students getting involved.

Seven graduating classes over the past four years, involving several dozen students, have read hundreds of newspaper articles, numerous books about the case, witness accounts, trial transcripts, police reports and autopsy results.

Primeau said it?s clear to her Truscott did not receive a fair trial and almost all of her students agree after many long hours of exhaustive research.

?My students have really poured their heart and souls into this,? she said. ?Most come up with the same conclusion I did long ago...this is not justice and he did not receive a fair trial.

?I?ve never tried to convince myself of his innocence or guilt and that?s never been my job as a teacher, but what I wanted to achieve was a clear review of all the evidence now available so many years later. It?s become very clear this young boy did not receive any kind of fair trial.?

Students from her classes last year presented a lengthy written submission to Attorney General Michael Bryant?s office in relation to the Truscott case.

Bryant replied and thanked all of the students for all of their hard work and made it clear their submissions were appreciated and would be considered by his office, said Primeau.

Last November, two of Primeau?s classes from CTS College in Sudbury were invited to attend a symposium on Truscott?s trial, conviction and attempt to get a new trial arranged by high school students at Humberview Collegiate in Toronto.

Numerous members of Truscott?s family attended and Primeau and her students were treated ?like stars? throughout the symposium, where much of the evidence they have gathered over the years was presented.

The police investigation, autopsy results and eyewitness accounts all add up to a case where a conviction should never have been entered against Truscott, said Primeau.

?There were just so many different things that didn?t add up,? she said. ?As I said, it?s never been my intention to prove innocence or guilt, but to look at the case in a legal sense and determine if justice was served or if this young boy received a fair trial.

?The general consensus by almost every one of the students? I?ve worked with was he did not receive a fair trial and therefore, justice was not served.?

All of her students involved for the past four years should be applauded for their hard work and dedication and ?playing a small part? in ensuring this case is now going before the Ontario Court of Appeal, she said.

Researching the case has provided invaluable experience for her students and she?s glad so many have learned so much from one case, she said.