BELLIVEAU'S AND HÉBERT'S SOURCES OF INFORMATION IN THE COFFIN AFFAIR (3)
I continue the reproduction of Chapter 2 titled THE CRITIQUES, that is to say, authors Belliveau and Hébert, and the investigator Doyon. We will have a look at the sources from which Jacques Hébert drew his inspiration to write his books.
IN THE MEANTIME, FOR A DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW, I SUGGEST THAT YOU HAVE A PEEP ON MR. LEW STODDARD BLOG :
REPORT OF THE BROSSARD ENQUIRY COMMISSION IN THE COFFIN AFFAIR (27TH NOBEMVER 1964) VOL. 3 CHAPITRE 2 (Part III)
THE CRITIQUES (CONTINUED)
THEIR SOURCES OF INFORMATION
After someone had read to him the opinion of the honourable justice Taschereau about the inflammatory language, he, (Hébert) declares, always with the same disconcerting humbleness, that he has not been influenced in any way in the writing of his book by this opinion of the honourable justice Taschereau and that he remains convinced that he was right to say what he said in his book.
He persists stating always with the same humbleness, the same objectivity and the same condescendence that nothing forced him to quote the justices of the Appeal Court or of the Supreme Court who had expressed an opinion contrary to his.
At last, the witness has, at a time of his numerous testimonies, slipped what, in my opinion, if we take into account the proof that was submitted to us and that Mr. Hébert might have followed, is the climax of presumptuousness that the dictionary defines « impertinent rashness » : Since, says he, I read the joint file; and I must say that there are little things, maybe two points that I would have changed; two words in the book; I might have added one chapter or two”.
If it is from this angle of objectivity, accuracy, spirit of truth and humbleness Mr. Hébert wrote and published his second book, if it is on ignoring the proof submitted to the jury of Percé and the nature of Court decisions that followed, if Mr. Hébert based the greater part of his accusations against certain persons, in particular, on a proof almost exclusively made of hearsay, against the judiciary organization in general and against the police organization, what about the insults and accusations voiced by the author. I have already mentioned those accusations he directed to captain Matte. I also point out other accusations, as serious as those previously mentioned, made by Mr. Hébert as follows:
Page 8 : On the degradation of justice by the Duplessis government, its police and attorneys.
Page 8 : On very strong pressures probably being exerted by a great number of individuals desirous of preserving their interest and wishing that a new enquiry never took place especially for the few who have acquired power and respectability.
Page 9 : On the rare ferocity with which those who precede have gone at Coffin, on their responsibility for the death of an innocent man and on the possibility of blackmail from them
Pages 16 and 44 : On captain Matte’s triumphant smile on the morning of the execution.
Pages 19 and 20 : On the personal interest of the honourable Maurice Duplessis and reasons for wanting a conviction.
Page 21 : On the over-zealous Provincial Police investigators, the determination of the Crown attorneys and the strange reactions of Mr. Maurice Duplessis.
Page 26 : On Raoul Sirois’ disturbing character, as disturbing as that of captain Matte.
Page 26 : On the attempts by the police to destroy by all means the proof.
Page 45 : On the scale used to choose the Crown attorneys (the greater number of hangings to their credit).
Page 48 : On the choice of « certain authorities », of Mtre Maher to weaken Coffin’s possible defence.
Page 57 : On Mtre Miquelon’s specialty : the use of insult and the most acrimonious sarcasm.
Page 57 : On Mtre Dorion’s talent for burlesque.
Pages 47 and 85 : On the judge « too lenient » who presided the Percé trial and his « excessive kindness ».
Page 58 : On the relentlessness, not to say the fury… the behaviour of the main Crown attorneys.
Page 73 : On the demonstration by Mtres Miquelon and Dorion that they were not seeking the truth, nothing but the truth, but solely testimonies overwhelming Coffin.
Page 83 : On the Crown attorneys’ devilish cleverness of their pleas and their lack of respect for moderation and impartiality.
Page 86 : On the title of glory for the majority of Crown attorneys to obtain from a jury the head of a man and the fact that Mtres Miquelon and Dorion had this reputation.
Page 104 : On the fact that after Coffin’s marriage, if it had happened, the Crown would have lost, maybe, « a hanging ».
Page 141 : On Mtre Dorion’s machiavellism in his examination of Hamel.
Page 176 : On « the unspeakable spectacle where cynical show-offs in robes have given a show that causes the shame of the free men of this country and used fully the services of a sadist in uniform, Captain Alphonse Matte ».
Except for unspeakable insults that I just enumerated, two things would maybe mitigate – but so little- the exceptional seriousness of the errors and falsenesses that I have underlined :
a) Mr. Hébert has shown too much confidence and faith in the information that the sergeant (Henri Doyon) communicated to him and he did not take into account the sergeant’s ill-disposition towards his former superiors and colleagues of the Provincial Police after his dismissal;
b) The fact of having shared, with a small but too considerable group of persons claiming to be newspapermen or assuming such functions, the false notion that the freedom of the press and information comprises the right to peddle and repeat inaccuracies and falsenesses in as much as it is susceptible of interesting eager readers of sensational news, without it being necessary to take into consideration individual rights and public order.
This, therefore, leads me to speak of former sergeant Doyon and the freedom of the press and information in accordance with the law and public order. (To be followed)