29 mai 2009

MARION PETRIE, LA MAÎTRESSE DE COFFIN, MALTRAITÉE PAR LA POLICE?












L'honorable sénateur
Jacques Hébert
Cliquez sur ces images pour
lire la déclaration de
Marion Petrie. Comme elle est
difficilement lisible, je l'ai
redactylographiée et vous la
présente à la fin de ce texte.
J'en ai fait une traduction que vous pouvez
lire à l'Annexe C de mon livre L'AFFAIRE COFFIN:
UNE SUPERCHERIE?
Lisez sur la version anglaise
la déclaration statutaire de
Wilbert Coffin.

J'en présente aussi une
traduction à l'Annexe B de
mon livre.













MARION PETRIE, LA MAÎTRESSE DE COFFIN, MALTRAITÉE PAR LA POLICE?

EXTRAIT DU RAPPORT BROSSARD PARTIE VII, VOL. 2, CHAPITRE VI,

L’arrêté en conseil a donné mandat à la Commission de faire enquête « sur la crédibilité des déclarations faites par Francis Thompson à la police de Miami, en novembre 1958 ».
Pour pouvoir se prononcer en connaissance de cause, la Commission a donc enquêté sur tous les aspects de ce curieux incident et elle a, sur ce seul sujet entendu 36 témoins et recueilli 66 pièces à conviction.
L’étude de la matière suggère la division suivante :
I – LA PERSONNALITÉ DE FRANCIS GABRIEL THOMPSON;
II – LES ÉVÈNEMENTS DE MIAMI;
III- LE VOYAGE DU NOTAIRE J. CONRAD MOREAU;
IV – L’ALIBI DE THOMPSON
V – LA CRÉDIBILITÉ DE THOMPSON
VI – CONCLUSIONS
NOTA NE MANQUEZ PAS CE CHAPITRE DU RAPPORT BROSSARD SUR LE VOYAGE DU NOTAIRE MOREAU À MIAMI. C’EST ROCAMBOLESQUE, VOIRE ÉPOUSTOUFLANT… UN ROMAN TORDANT! DU JACQUES HÉBERT A SON MEILLEUR!
B) LE CAS DE VINCENT PATTERSON;
C) LES INTERROGATOIRES DE WILBERT COFFIN, MARION PETRIE ET LEWIS SINNETT ;
D) LES DEUX PRISONNIERS QUE L’ON AURAIT INCITÉS À TÉMOIGNER CONTRE COFFIN.
INTERROGATOIRE DE MARION PETRIE
Au cours de cette enquête, une tentative de M. Hébert d’établir que Mme Marion Petrie avait elle-même été assujettie à des traitements répréhensibles au cours d’un très long interrogatoire qu’elle fut appelée à subir dans la nuit du 5 au 6 août à Montréal, au Palais de Justice, a échoué. Rappelons que c’est au cours de cet interrogatoire que les capitaines Matte et Sirois réussirent à obtenir de Mme Petrie les informations qui les conduisirent à la découverte de certains des effets ayant appartenu aux chasseurs américains et qui se trouvaient en la possession de Coffin lorsqu’il arriva à Montréal à la demeure de Mme Petrie; la communication de ces renseignements et la production de ces effets, lors du procès, jouèrent sans aucun doute, un rôle fort important, lorsqu’on les opposa aux déclarations que Coffin avait faites aux officiers de Police dans les jours antérieurs. Ce fut, d’ailleurs, immédiatement après avoir obtenu ces renseignements et découvert ces effets que le capitaine Matte donnait des instructions à ses collègues de Gaspé de faire subir à Coffin son interrogatoire du 6 août, qui fut suivi de sa déclaration, dite statutaire, déclaration qui devait jouer un si grand rôle dans la décision des défenseurs de Coffin de ne pas le faire témoigner et de ne pas faire entendre de témoins en sa faveur. (CLIQUEZ SUR LES IMAGES CI-DESSUS POUR LIRE LA DÉCLARATION STATUTAIRE DE WILBERT COFFIN)
Certes, Mme Petrie fut sur la sellette pendant de nombreuses heures au cours de cette nuit, mais il n’apparaît pas qu’elle a été le moindrement molestée, violentée ou menacée de quelque façon par les capitaines Matte et Sirois et un M. Normandeau de la Sûreté provinciale à Montréal. Elle consentit, librement, à signer une longue déclaration à la suite de l’interrogatoire qu’elle avait subi; cette longue déclaration fut dictée et transcrite en sa présence au bureau d’un M. Étienne Généreux dans les locaux des Chemins de fer nationaux, dont M. Généreux était l’employé et auquel le capitaine Matte s’était adressé pour que ne puissent pas être le moindrement ébruités, de façon à parvenir aux oreilles de Coffin, les renseignements qu’ils avaient réussi à obtenir de Mme Petrie. Bien que Mme Petrie ait été appelée à signer cette déclaration dans l’après-midi du 6 août, près de dix-sept heures après la première visite que les officiers de police avaient faite à son domicile la veille au soir, elle se montra très aimable, aux dires de M. Généreux, et badins même avec les officiers de police. (CLIQUEZ SUR LES IMAGES CI-DESSUS POUR LIRE LA DÉCLARATION DE MARION PETRIE.)
Mme Petrie fut entendue devant cette Commission; à l’exception de la longueur de l’interrogatoire qu’elle eut à subir de la part des capitaines Matte et Sirois, se dégage nettement de son témoignage devant nous qu’elle n’eût pas à se plaindre sérieusement des méthodes employées par les officiers de police pour obtenir d’elle les renseignements susdits; cependant, alors que son témoignage devant nous s’était entièrement terminé au cours de l’avant-midi, elle revint l’après-midi, à la demande de M. Hébert, pour expliquer pour la première fois, pour ainsi dire « out of a blue sky », qu’au cours de son interrogatoire on s’était servi d’un appareil détecteur de mensonges. Certes, un tel appareil se trouvait au bureau de la Sûreté à Montréal, mais aux dires de la Sûreté, il n’était jamais utilisé sans le consentement de celui qui était interrogé; le capitaine Matte et le capitaine Sirois déclarèrent qu’ils ignoraient l’existence, au bureau de la Sûreté à Montréal, d’un appareil de ce genre et qu’on ne l’utilisa pas dans le cas de Mme Petrie. La description qu’a faite Mme Petrie de la façon dont on aurait utilisé cet appareil et dont on l’aurait ajusté sur elle nous permet de dire que ce renseignement de Mme Petrie paraît avoir été uniquement un produit de son imagination, inspiré sans doute par la preuve qui avait été faite devant cette Commission de l’usage d’un appareil semblable par la Police de Miami sur l’indien Thompson. Par ailleurs, le fait que Mme Petrie n’avait fait aucune allusion quelconque à cet appareil au cours de la longue description qu’elle fit devant nous des événements qui se produisirent pendant son interrogatoire par la police et le fait que ce ne fut qu’après que son témoignage devant nous eût été entièrement terminé qu’elle s’avisa, soudainement, au cours d’une séance ultérieure de la Commission, de parler pour la première fois de cet appareil rendent plus que suspectes les circonstances de son témoignage sur ce point; à tout événement, son attitude envers les officiers de police le lendemain après-midi lors de la signature de sa déclaration serait suffisante pour nous permettre d’en venir à la conclusion que, même si on prétendit se servir de cet appareil, ce que la Commission ne croit pas, Mme Petrie n’en subit aucun préjudice puisque, de toute manière, il appert de son témoignage que l’appareil n’a pas fonctionné. Aussi bien, j’exprime l’opinion qu’il s’est agi là d’une autre tentative, habile peut-être, mais, à mon sens, intellectuellement malhonnête, de jeter un discrédit injustifié sur les méthodes de la police. (À SUIVRE)
RÉAGISSEZ À CE RAPPORT!




Montréal, Que. 6 août 1953
Statement of Mary Ann (Mrs. Wilbert Coffin) born Petrie, 6327, de Laroche, Street, Montréal, Que.
I have known Wilbert Coffin for about seven years. I had met him in Montréal, and then went to Val d’Or, where we had in mind to get married, but never did, so far. We have a son, named James, five years of age, and who lives with me at 6327 de Laroche. We stayed in Gaspé about four years together. My husband doing cooking at Baker’s Hotel in Gaspé
Last March, I left Gaspé for Montréal to visit my mother at 6327 de Laroche Street. I have been there ever since. My husband arrived during the night of the 14th/15th of June 1953. He was then driving a Chev ‘53 truck, half ton truck. The truck was green with a steel box, known as pickup truck. When he arrived at 6327 de Laroche, he was alone, and feeling good (under the influence of liquor). He rang at the door and I went to answer. When he came in, he brought with him a leather case containing a pair of binoculars, a big jackknife with many gadgets on it, and he also took in prospecting maps. About half an hour after he came in, he went out to the truck and came back with a quart of beer, stating that this was his last one. After a while, I asked him if he should not take in the rest of the things he had in the truck, but he said no. We did not go to bed that night, and during the course of the conversation, Wilbert mentioned something about an American party of thee men that were in the woods behind Gaspé hunting. He said that when he met them, they were in a bad fix and that he had helped them out. He said that their truck had had something repaired on the gas line. He said that he took that American back into the bush, and tried in vain to make the repairs. He also said that when he left them, they were alone the three of them. I suppose that he told me those things to explain how he had the pair of binoculars and the jackknife, because he said that the American had given them to him as a payment for his trip from the woods to Gaspé and back into the woods. He never mentioned receiving any money from them.
During the night of his arrival, I asked Wilbert if he had some money for me since he had not sent any for quite a while a long time. He reached for his shirt pocket and pulled out a certain amount of money (Canadian currency) of which he gave me fifteen dollars.
I might also mention that he had made the trip with a fellow who he had dropped at Québec. He never mentioned any more about this fellow, not giving his name.
During the morning of the 15th of June 1953, around ten o’ clock, he went out and came back with a bottle of whiskey, which he drank the same day. It was during the late part of the afternoon, I suggested that he would bring in the rest of the stuff he had in the truck, so they went around and by the lane and my brother helped him to get the stuff in.
The following articles were taken out of the truck and brought part in the shed, part in the house:- In the shed were left an axe, a bucksaw, a spade, a boiling pail and an oil can (5 gallon), a pail (galvanized iron). In the house were brought two sleeping bags, a cardboard box with groceries: a few cans of sardines, some tea, coffee, sugar, (a small quantity of each, about half a pound), a few tins of canned milk CARNATION, a few cans of beans, some butter, two loaves of bread wrapped in waxed paper coming here from Langlois or Peterson bakery, Gaspé, some tins of tomatoes, one big box of matches, about a dozen of eggs wrapped in stripped paper and the container was a small box of heavy cardboard. The truck was then taken back to the front of the house by my brother William and the only things left in the truck at that moment were a pair of chains and a bag of coal, a galvanized iron pail and a piece of canvas that covered these things.
-Sheet two - Mrs. Wilbert Coffin
From the time of his arrival, my husband stayed around the place until on or about the 22nd of June 1953, when he went up to Cornwall, Ont., visiting his sister Mrs. Bert Williamson who lives somewhere on Riverdale Street. I am pretty sure that he came back the same day. During the evening of the 23rd of June 1953, coming back from my brother-in-law Moe Sauvé’s place, who lived, at that time, at 8036 Durocher Street, we collided with a streetcar, at the corner of Durocher and Ogilvie. Wilbert was knocked out and taken to St-Luc Hospital and so was I. The truck was taken to a garage. We stayed in the hospital for a few hours, and we were then told to go back home. This accident occurred around 11.45 p.m. I remember that a few days after, Wilbert asked my brother to go to the garage where the truck had been towed and to bring back the chains that were in the truck. My brother went to the garage but when he arrived there, he was told that the Insurance Company representative had come to get the truck and nobody knew where it was. This accident delayed the return of my husband to Gaspé, as he had mentioned about leaving the next morning. From the date of the accident up to July 10th 1953, he remained at our place. He then left on July 10th 1953, by taxi, carrying with him the two sleeping bags, one packsack and a suitcase. When he left the house, I understood that he was going to check his luggage for Gaspé. He did not show up the rest of the day. On Saturday July 11th 1953, he came back to our home on de Laroche Street at about eleven o’clock a.m. and he was quite tight. He then went to bed until sometime in the afternoon. Late during the evening, between ten and eleven, I left with my brother William and Wilbert, in my brother’s car, and we drove up to Wilbert’s aunt, Mrs. Maynard Coffin who lives at 3800 Mentana Street. My brother and I left him there, and we drove back home. I had no idea when he was going to leave town, but later on I heard that he had had dinner at his sister’s place on Sunday night July 12th and then left. The next I heard from Wilbert was when I had the phone call from him from Val d’Or. On the phone he told me that he was up in Val d’Or to meet some people regarding his mining business. That phone call was received from Wilbert during the afternoon of July 16th. He also told me then that he was expecting to go through La Tuque to visit his father, and that after “we will go down to Gaspé and we expect to be there either Sunday or Monday”.
Wilbert also had, when he arrived in Montréal, a little overnight suitcase, in which he had blue jeans, underwear, shirts, socks. This suitcase did not look new and to my knowledge I had never seen it before.
I is to my knowledge that during the time he was in Montreal, he had borrowed money from my brother William, I did not know the amount; $20.00 from my sister-in-law Ivy (Mrs. Sauvé); he telephoned to his brother Donald, in Gaspé, asking him for some money and was telegraphed $10.00 or $12.00; after having written his father in La Tuque, he got a cheque but I do not know for which amount. I never saw any American money in his hands while he was up here in Montreal.
He received, while he was in Montreal, a telegram from A. MacDonald which read “Come back to Gaspé important” and signed A. Mac Donald. Wilbert wired back to MacDonald telling him that if he wanted him in Gaspé to wire back to him $40.00. He never got any answer from MacDonald, and that was all.
A couple of days after my husband had been in Montreal, my brother William told me that Wilbert was giving him a German Luger revolver and he did not know what to do with it. He told me a few days later that he had sold it, that he did not want to keep it. He did not mention to who he had sold it, nor what money he got for it.
Wilbert being pretty always tanked up while he was home, gave our son the jackknife and binoculars to play with, so I decided to take them out of the house so that he would not see them again and handed them over to some distant relation of mine, Dennis Renshaw who lives at 6244 de Normandville Street, together with some other distant relation of mine Gordie Bowes. That is where they were fetched from, on the morning of August 6th 1953, when I went from Police headquarters to my home to turn over the things left in Montreal by my husband.
On Sunday, July 19th, I heard a broadcast over the radio saying that Wilbert Coffin was being looked for as he was presumably the last one who had seen the three Americans reported lost in the woods behind Gaspé. After hearing that broadcast, I telephoned to Gaspé and talked with Edith and asked her if Wilbert was in Gaspé, and she answered no, I told her that I thought he was in La Tuque, with his father, and that he would be in Gaspé either Sunday or Monday.
Around July 26 1953, I phoned again to Gaspé and as I wanted to talk to Wilbert’s father. It was Wilbert’s sister, Rhoda who came over the phone. I asked her how things were down there, and was answered everything was all right. The same question about my end, and the same answer. Having asked her why her mother had not come to the phone, she told me that she was upset about her son being mentioned in that affair. Rhoda told me that she was sure Wilbert had nothing to do with that, and I also told her the same.
About two weeks ago I wrote my husband, asking him what the score was down there and other personal things, but so far did not get any answer.
The German Luger revolver shown to me this morning is the same one that Wilbert had and that I saw last winter in Gaspé.
(Signed) Marion Petrie
Witnesses: (signed) JE Généreux
“ Raoul Sirois, Capt.
“ JA. Matte
Copy/rl
QUÉBEC
11-9-55
Copie/el
QUEBEC
31-8-54

MARION PETRIE, COFFIN'S MISTRESS, ILL-TREATED BY POLICE?





The honourable senator
Jacques Hébert
Click on the images of theFrench version to read
Marion Petrie's statement
As this statement is not easy to read
I reproduce it at the end of this posting.


Click on these images to read
Wilbert Coffin's statutory declaration



















MARION PETRIE, COFFIN’S MISTRESS, ILL-TREATED BY POLICE?

EXCERPT FROM THE BROSSARD REPORT, PART VII, VOLUME 2,
CHAPTER VI

(A literal translation by Clément Fortin)
The order-in-council has given the Commission the mandate to investigate the “credibility of the statements made by Francis Thompson to the Miami police, in November 1958”.
In order to report with full knowledge of the facts, the Commission has inquired into all aspects of this funny incident and it has heard, on this sole subject, 36 witnesses and collected 66 exhibits.
The study of this question suggests the following division:
I - Francis Gabriel Thompson’s personality;
II - The Miami events;
III - Notary J. Conrad Moreau’s trip;
IV - Thompson’s alibi;
V - Thompson’s credibility;
VI - Conclusions.
B) THE VINCENT PATTERSON CASE;
C) THE QUESTIONING OF WILBERT COFFIN, MARION PETRIE AND LEWIS SINNETT;
D) THE TWO PRISONERS WHO WERE PROMPTED TO TESTIFY AGAINST COFFIN

QUESTIONING MARION PETRIE
In the course of this enquiry, an attempt by Mr. Hébert to establish that Mrs. Marion Petrie was, herself, subjected to bad treatments during a long questioning that she had to undergo in the night of the 5th to the 6th August in Montréal, at the Court House, has failed. Let us recall that it is in the course of that questioning that captains Matte and Sirois succeeded in obtaining from Mrs. Petrie information that led them to the discovery of certain effects having belonged to the American hunters and were in Coffin’s possession when he arrived in Montreal at the apartment of Mrs. Petrie; the communication of this information and the production of those effects, at the trial, played without a doubt a very important role when compared to the statements Coffin had made to police officers on previous days. It was, I may add, immediately after having obtained this information and discovered these effects that captain Matte gave instructions to his Gaspé colleagues to submit Coffin to questioning on the 6th of August, which was followed by a statutory declaration that played such a great role in Coffin’s attorneys to not call to the stand witnesses in his favour. (READ COFFIN’S STATUTORY DECLARATION BY CLIKING ON THE ABOVE IMAGES.)
Surely, Mrs. Petrie was put on the carpet for several hours during that night but it does not appear that she was the least molested, assaulted or threatened in any way by captains Matte and Sirois and Mr. Normandeau of the Provincial Police in Montréal. She agreed, freely, to sign a long statement at the end of a lengthy questioning that she had undergone; this long statement was dictated to Mr. Étienne Généreux in the offices of the Canadian National Railway of which Mr. Généreux was at the employ and to whom captain Matte had asked so that nothing leaks out, and that nothing of the information he had obtained from Mrs. Petrie be reported to Coffin. (READ MARION PETRIE’S STATEMENT BY CLICKING ON THE ABOVE IMAGES)
Even although Mrs. Petrie was asked to sign her statement in the afternoon of the 6th of August, almost seventeen hours after the first visit the police officers had made to her apartment the night before, she was friendly, according to Mr. Généreux, and even playful with police officers.
Mrs. Petrie was heard before this Commission; except for the length of the questioning that she had to undergo from captains Matte and Sirois, it emerges from her testimony before us that she did not have to complain seriously of the methods used by the police officers to obtain from her the aforesaid information; however, while her testimony before us was entirely finished in the forenoon, she came back in the afternoon, at the request of Mr. Hébert, to explain, for the first time, so to speak “out of a blue sky”, that in the course of her questioning a lie detector was used. Certainly, such a device was there, at the office of the Provincial Police in Montréal, but according to the Police, it was never used without the consent of the person who was questioned; captain Matte and captain Sirois declared that they were not aware of the existence, at the office of the Provincial Police in Montréal, of a device of this kind and that it was not used in the case of Mrs. Petrie. The description made by Mrs. Petrie of the manner this device was used and put on her allows us to believe it is solely the product of her imagination, inspired doubtlessly by the proof that was made before this Commission of the use of such a device by the Miami Police on the Indian Thompson. On the other hand, the fact that Mrs. Petrie has not alluded in any way to such a device in the course of the long description that she made of the events that took place during her questioning by the police and the fact that it was only after her testimony before us was entirely terminated that she suddenly spoke, in the course of a subsequent sitting, for the first time of this device, render more suspect the circumstances of her testimony on this point; in any event, her attitude towards the police officers in the afternoon of the following day, at the time of the signature of her declaration, would suffice to allow us to conclude that, even if she pretended that this device was used, the Commission does not believe it was, Mrs. Petrie did not suffer any prejudice since, anyway, it rises from her testimony that the device was not operated. Therefore, I express the opinion that it was another attempt, clever maybe, but intellectually dishonest, to unjustly discredit the methods of the police. (TO BE CONTINUED)
YOUR COMMENTS, PLEASE!



Montréal, Que. 6 août 1953
Statement of Mary Ann (Mrs. Wilbert Coffin) born Petrie, 6327, de Laroche Street, Montréal, Qué.
I have known Wilbert Coffin for about seven years. I had met him in Montréal, and then went to Val d’Or, where we had in mind to get married, but never did, so far. We have a son, named James, five years of age, and who lives with me at 6327 de Laroche. We stayed in Gaspé about four years together. My husband doing cooking at Baker’s Hotel in Gaspé
Last March, I left Gaspé for Montréal to visit my mother at 6327 de Laroche Street. I have been there ever since. My husband arrived during the night of the 14th/15th of June 1953. He was then driving a Chev ‘53 truck, half ton truck. The truck was green with a steel box, known as pickup truck. When he arrived at 6327 de Laroche, he was alone, and feeling good (under the influence of liquor). He rang at the door and I went to answer. When he came in, he brought with him a leather case containing a pair of binoculars, a big jack-knife with many gadgets on it, and he also took in prospecting maps. About half an hour after he came in, he went out to the truck and came back with a quart of beer, stating that this was his last one. After a while, I asked him if he should not take in the rest of the things he had in the truck, but he said no. We did not go to bed that night, and during the course of the conversation, Wilbert mentioned something about an American party of thee men that were in the woods behind Gaspé hunting. He said that when he met them, they were in a bad fix and that he had helped them out. He said that their truck had had something repaired on the gas line. He said that he took that American back into the bush, and tried in vain to make the repairs. He also said that when he left them, they were alone the three of them. I suppose that he told me those things to explain how he had the pair of binoculars and the jack-knife, because he said that the American had given them to him as a payment for his trip from the woods to Gaspé and back into the woods. He never mentioned receiving any money from them.
During the night of his arrival, I asked Wilbert if he had some money for me since he had not sent any for quite a while a long time. He reached for his shirt pocket and pulled out a certain amount of money (Canadian currency) of which he gave me fifteen dollars.)
I might also mention that he had made the trip with a fellow who he had dropped at Québec. He never mentioned any more about this fellow, not giving his name.
During the morning of the 15th of June 1953, around ten o’ clock, he went out and came back with a bottle of whiskey, which he drank the same day. It was during the late part of the afternoon, I suggested that he would bring in the rest of the stuff he had in the truck, so they went around and by the lane and my brother helped him to get the stuff in.
The following articles were taken out of the truck and brought part in the shed, part in the house:- In the shed were left an axe, a bucksaw, a spade, a boiling pail and an oil can (5 gallon), a pail (galvanized iron). In the house were brought two sleeping bags, a cardboard box with groceries: a few cans of sardines, some tea, coffee, sugar, (a small quantity of each, about half a pound), a few tins of canned milk CARNATION, a few cans of beans, some butter, two loaves of bread wrapped in waxed paper coming here from Langlois or Peterson bakery, Gaspé, some tins of tomatoes, one big box of matches, about a dozen of eggs wrapped in stripped paper and the container was a small box of heavy cardboard. The truck was then taken back to the front of the house by my brother William and the only things left in the truck at that moment were a pair of chains and a bag of coal, a galvanized iron pail and a piece of canvas that covered these things.
-Sheet two - Mrs. Wilbert Coffin
From the time of his arrival, my husband stayed around the place until on or about the 22nd of June 1953, when he went up to Cornwall, Ont., visiting his sister Mrs. Bert Williamson who lives somewhere on Riverdale Sreet. I am pretty sure that he came back the same day. During the evening of the 23rd of June 1953, coming back from my brother-in-aw Moe Sauvé’s place, who lived at that time at 8036 Durocher Street, we collided with a streetcar, at the corner of Durocher and Ogilvie. Wilbert was knocked out and taken to St-Luc ospital and so was I. The truck was taken to a garage. We stayed in the hospital for a few hours, and we were then told to go back home. This accident occurred around 11.45 P.M. I remember that a few days after, Wilbert asked my brother to go to the garage where the truck had been towed and to bring back the chains that were in the truck. My brother went to the garage but when he arrived there, he was told that the Insurance Company representative had come to get the truck and nobody knew where it was. This accident delayed the return of my husband to Gaspé, as he had mentioned about leaving the next morning. From the date of the accident up to July 10th 1953, he remained at our place. He then left on July 10th 1953, by taxi, carrying with him the two sleeping bags, one packsack and a suitcase. When he left the house, I understood that he was going to check his luggage for Gaspé. He did not show up the rest of the day. On Saturday July 11th 1953, he came back to our home on de Laroche Street at about eleven o’clock a.m. and he was quite tight. He then went to bed until sometime in the afternoon. Late during the evening, between ten and eleven, I left with my brother William and Wilbert, in my brother’s car, and we drove up to Wilbert’s aunt, Mrs. Maynard Coffin who lives at 3800 Mentana Street. My brother and I left him there, and we drove back home. I had no idea when he was going to leave town, but later on I heard that he had had dinner at his sister’s place on Sunday night July 12th and then left. The next I heard from Wilbert was when I had the phone call from him from Val d’Or. On the phone he told me that he was up in Val d’Or to meet some people regarding his mining business. That phone call was received from Wilbert during the afternoon of July 16th. He also told me then that he was expecting to go through La Tuque to visit his father, and that after “we will go down to Gaspé and we expect to be there either Sunday or Monday”.
Wilbert also had, when he arrived in Montréal, a little overnight suitcase, in which he had blue jeans, underwear, shirts, socks. This suitcase did not look new and to my knowledge I had never seen it before.
I is to my knowledge that during the time he was in Montreal, he had borrowed money from my brother William, I did not know the amount; $20.00 from my sister-in-law Ivy (Mrs. Sauvé); he telephoned to his brother Donald, in Gaspé, asking him for some money and was telegraphed $10.00 or $12.00; after having written his father in La Tuque, he got a cheque but I do not know for which amount. I never saw any American money in his hands while he was up here in Montreal.
He received, while he was in Montreal, a telegram from A. MacDonald which read “Come back to Gaspé important” and signed A. Mac Donald. Wilbert wired back to MacDonald telling him that if he wanted him in Gaspé to wire back to him $40.00. He never got any answer from MacDonald, and that was all.
A couple of days after my husband had been in Montreal, my brother William told me that Wilbert was giving him a German Luger revolver and he did not know what to do with it. He told me a few days later that he had sold it, that he did not want to keep it. He did not mention to who he had sold it, nor what money he got for it.
Wilbert being pretty always tanked up while he was home, gave our son the jackknife and binoculars to play with, so I decided to take them out of the house so that he would not see them again and handed them over to some distant relation of mine, Dennis Renshaw who lives at 6244 de Normandville Street, together with some other distant relation of mine Gordie Bowes. That is where they were fetched from, on the morning of August 6th 1953, when I went from Police headquarters to my home to turn over the things left in Montreal by my husband.
On Sunday, July 19th, I heard a broadcast over the radio saying that Wilbert Coffin was being looked for as he was presumably the last one who had seen the three Americans reported lost in the woods behind Gaspé. After hearing that broadcast, I telephoned to Gaspé and talked with Edith and asked her if Wilbert was in Gaspé, and she answered no, I told her that I thought he was in La Tuque, with his father, and that he would be in Gaspé either Sunday or Monday.
Around July 26 1953, I phoned again to Gaspé and as I wanted to talk to Wilbert’s father. It was Wilbert’s sister, Rhoda who came over the phone. I asked her how things were down there, and was answered everything was all right. The same question about my end, and the same answer. Having asked her why her mother had not come to the phone, she told me that she was upset about her son being mentioned in that affair. Rhoda told me that she was sure Wilbert had nothing to do with that, and I also told her the same.
About two weeks ago, I wrote my husband, asking him what the score was down there and other personal things, but so far did not get any answer.
The German Luger revolver shown to me this morning is the same one that Wilbert had and that I saw last winter in Gaspé.
(Signed) Marion Petrie
Witnesses: (signed) JE Généreux
“ Raoul Sirois, Capt.
“ JA. Matte
Copy/rl
QUÉBEC
11-9-55
Copie/el
QUEBEC
31-8-54

23 mai 2009

WILBERT COFFIN MALTRAITÉ PAR LA POLICE?

















L'honorable sénateur
Jacques Hébert

La valise de Frederik Claar
trouvée par la police à
l'appartement de Marion Petrie
à Montréal

La plaidoirie par Honoré Daumier
Policier de Police Cartoons
and Caricatures

WILBERT COFFIN MALTRAITÉ PAR LA POLICE?
EXTRAIT DU RAPPORT BROSSARD PARTIE VII, VOL. 2, CHAPITRE VI,

L’arrêté en conseil a donné mandat à la Commission de faire enquête « sur la crédibilité des déclarations faites par Francis Thompson à la police de Miami, en novembre 1958 ».
Pour pouvoir se prononcer en connaissance de cause, la Commission a donc enquêté sur tous les aspects de ce curieux incident et elle a, sur ce seul sujet entendu 36 témoins et recueilli 66 pièces à conviction.
L’étude de la matière suggère la division suivante :
I – LA PERSONNALITÉ DE FRANCIS GABRIEL THOMPSON;
II – LES ÉVÈNEMENTS DE MIAMI;
III- LE VOYAGE DU NOTAIRE J. CONRAD MOREAU;
IV – L’ALIBI DE THOMPSON
V – LA CRÉDIBILITÉ DE THOMPSON
VI – CONCLUSIONS
NOTA NE MANQUEZ PAS CE CHAPITRE DU RAPPORT BROSSARD SUR LE VOYAGE DU NOTAIRE MOREAU À MIAMI. C’EST ROCAMBOLESQUE, VOIRE ÉPOUSTOUFLANT… UN ROMAN TORDANT! DU JACQUES HÉBERT A SON MEILLEUR!
B) LE CAS DE VINCENT PATTERSON;
C) LES INTERROGATOIRES DE WILBERT COFFIN, MARION PETRIE ET LEWIS SINNETT ;
D) LES DEUX PRISONNIERS QUE L’ON AURAIT INCITÉS À TÉMOIGNER CONTRE COFFIN.

Chapitre 7
PARTIE VII, VOLUME 2, CHAPITRE 6 (page 466)
Extrait du Rapport Brossard
LES INTERROGATOIRES DE WILBERT COFFIN, MARION PETRIE ET LEWIS SINNETT
Dans la reproduction dans le Toronto Daily Star du 11 février 1956 du testament de Wilbert Coffin et dans la propre reproduction de ce testament dans le livre de M. Beliveau, on lit : « I would like that the public know since my arrest, I was not fairly treated ».
Ce n’était pas une reproduction fidèle du document signé par Coffin, tel qu’écrit de la main de Me Gravel; Coffin avait dit, par la main de Me Gravel, « Since my arrest I neveR had a fair deal and I do hope no repetition of such unjust affair will occur in my province ».
Coffin n’avait pas formulé de telles plaintes dans son affidavit du 9 octobre. En avait-il exprimé de semblables précédemment? Avait-il, de fait subi des mauvais traitements?
Soulignons tout d’abord qu’il y a plus qu’une nuance, qu’il y a, en fait, une différence entre « I was not fairly treated » et « I never had a fair deal »; la première expression peut se référer à des traitements physiques et moraux, tandis que la seconde se réfère plutôt aux méthodes employées pour obtenir sa condamnation et son exécution.
À la page 23 du volume de M. Belliveau, on peut lire e qui suit :
« He said he was brutally treated under a five-hundred watt light in the fire station basement. Once, he said, he was grilled for eighteen hours at a stretch. When he was thirsty water would brought and then snatched from him before he could drink. Cigarette would be given and snatched away. When he was dropping from fatigue, he would be slapped back into a chair”.
S’inspirant manifestement de ce passage du livre de M. Belliveau, tout au moins d’un passage correspondant de ses reportages, M. Hébert écrit dans son deuxième volume ce qui suit :
Page 74
« Mais, si on en croit Coffin, il aurait été interrogé, en une occasion au moins, pendant 18 heures sans interruption. Quand il réclamait de l’eau, on lui en tendait un verre pour aussitôt le lui arracher des mains. On faisait de même pour les cigarettes. On l’a également interrogé pendant qu’une lampe de 500 watts brûlait devant ses yeux. Il va sans dire que la police a nié tout cela… »
Page 133
« Matte a d’abord tenté d’arracher des aveux à Coffin. Il a employé toutes les méthodes que pouvait imaginer son cerveau malade. L’échec a été total. Coffin était innocent : quand on le connaît, on comprend sans peine que les experts de la Gestapo eux-mêmes n’auraient jamais réussi à lui faire dire le contraire ».
M. Belliveau nous a déclaré ne pas se souvenir de qui il tenait ces renseignements; une chose est certaine il ne les pas tenus de Wilbert Coffin. De qui alors? Sûrement pas de ceux qui ont fait subir des interrogatoires à Coffin; ils sont tous venus dire le contraire. Alors? Nous sommes forcés de conclure soit à un ouï-dire injuste soit à un excès d’imagination.
Interrogé à ce sujet au cours de cette enquête, M. Hébert, niant s’être inspiré de Belliveau, ce qui nous paraît être une inexactitude patente, a donné comme seule source de ce passage les renseignements qu’il aurait obtenus de Donald Coffin; il a tenté d’y ajouter, pendant l’enquête, des renseignements dans le même sens reçus de Mme Marion Petrie.
Or, Donald Coffin nous déclara que tout ce que son frère, Wilbert, lui avait raconté, c’est qu’il avait été questionné pendant des heures et que ces interrogatoires étaient interrompus pour peut-être une demi-heure, au cours de laquelle il se reposait avant que les questions reprennent; Donald affirma que son frère n’avait exprimé aucune autre plainte que celle-là.
Pour sa part, Mme Marion Petrie nous a informés qu’elle aurait elle-même tenu de M. Eugène Létourneau, officier en charge de la prison de Québec, des informations quant aux interrogatoires subis par Coffin à l’effet qu’il aurait été aveuglé par des lumières; ces renseignements, elle les aurait obtenus au cours d’une entrevue conjointe entre elle, M. Létourneau et Wilbert Coffin. Or, M. Létourneau nia s’être jamais trouvé, en aucune circonstance, avec Mme Petrie et Wilbert Coffin, nia que Coffin ait jamais subi d’interrogatoire à la prison même, à sa connaissance, nia avoir jamais rapporté à Me Petrie des déclarations de Coffin au sujet de ces interrogatoires, nia être au courant d’un prétendu interrogatoire de trois jours qu’aurait subi Wilbert Coffin, nia avoir jamais eu connaissance d’aucun interrogatoire, ni de jour ni de nuit, à la Sûreté provinciale, nia que Coffin lui ait jamais dit à un moment donné qu’on l’avait aveuglé par le feu de lampes ou d’ampoules au cours des interrogatoires; en une occasion, Coffin lui dit que ça avait été long, en une autre occasion, qu’il était impatienté, et en une troisième circonstance : « Ils ont sacré après moi ».
Wilbert Coffin a apparemment subi quatre interrogatoires principaux de la part des officiers de la Sûreté, le capitaine Matte, le capitaine Sirois, le sergent Vanhoutte et le sergent Fradett. Trois de ces interrogatoires eurent lieu à Gaspé, le premier le 28 juillet 1953, le deuxième le 6 août 1953 (c’est lui qui fut suivi de la signature d’une déclaration dite statutaire par Coffin). Le troisième le 9 août; le quatrième eut lieu à Québec.
Les officiers qui ont fait subir ces interrogatoires ont tous été entendus par cette Commission. Ils on tous été unanimes d’une part à reconnaître que les interrogatoires furent longs, ardus, difficiles, fatigants pour tous ceux qui y prirent part et surtout, évidemment, pour celui qui en faisait l’objet, souvent lents à raison de l’attitude prise par Coffin, mais, d’autre part, à affirmer qu’en aucun temps au cours de ces interrogatoires, Coffin fut-il molesté, menacé, rudoyé ou soumis à des privations malicieuses. J’extrais de leurs témoignages respectifs ce que je considère en être l’essentiel.
Jean-Charles Vanhoutte :
Il est faux qu’on ait fait brûler devant les yeux de Coffin une lampe de 500 watts, qu’on lui offrait de l’eau pour la lui enlever, l’instant d’après, qu’on faisait de même pour les cigarettes; occasionnellement, au cours de l’interrogatoire, le capitaine Matte et le capitaine Sirois offraient des cigarettes à Coffin; lui-même a acheté un paquet de tabac à cigarettes à Coffin à la fin d’un interrogatoire et lui a fait manger des sandwichs tant qu’il en a voulu dans la cuisine du domicile de Doyon adjacent au bureau de la Sûreté, en l’absence de Doyon. On ne s’est pas servi d’une lampe portative servant à des fins de photographie.
Le capitaine Raoul Sirois :
Il n’y a eu aucune manoeuvre violente d’exercée à aucun moment. On n’a jamais offert des verres d’eau à Coffin pour les lui retirer à la dernière seconde; il en fut de même quant aux cigarettes; il admet qu’à une reprise au moins, Coffin fut traité de menteur.
Le capitaine Matte :
Le premier interrogatoire de Coffin le soir du 27 ou 28 juillet a duré de minuit à quatre heures du matin, en présence de M. Vanhoutte.
Le deuxième interrogatoire qu’il a fait subir à Coffin eut lieu dans la nuit du 9 au 10 août de 8 heures du soir à 9 heures du matin.
Le témoin s’est servi de la méthode usuelle : son intelligence purement et simplement; se servir de ses muscles n’eut pas été intelligent, dit-il. La rudesse, dit le témoin, n’a jamais donné rien; il n’a jamais lui-même fait usage de rudesse; il n’a jamais employé; les méthodes qu’on lui attribue dans le livre « J’accuse les assassins de Coffin »; les affirmations du livre sont entièrement fausses; il a toujours traité les êtres humains comme ils doivent l’être qu’ils soient prisonniers ou non.
Son troisième interrogatoire de Coffin, à Québec, surtout s’est déroulé de la façon la plus amicale, car Coffin était « un gentil garçon, d’une grande politesse ».
Le témoin considère comme particulièrement révoltantes et sales les affirmations des livres de MM. Belliveau et Hébert qu’il se serait servi d’une lampe de 500 watts pour aveugler le détenu au cours des interrogatoires.
Quant à l’interrogatoire du 6 août, ce n’est pas lui qui l’a fait subir; on se souvent que, à ce moment, le capitaine Matte était à Montréal où il venait d’obtenir de Mme Petrie des informations d’une gravité et d’une importance exceptionnelles et qu’il désirait que Coffin fût interrogé avant de pouvoir être informé des informations communiquées par Mme Petrie.
M. Fradette a confirmé les affirmations de ses confrères pour cette partie des interrogatoires auxquels il a pu assister.
Certes, des interrogatoires de 10 et 12 heures pendant la nuit constituent une rude épreuve pour celui qui y est soumis; les officiers de police ont cependant expliqué à cette Commission que la nuit est le temps le plus propice aux interrogatoires, quant à eux, au cours d’une enquête, pour ne pas nuire à leurs occupations obligatoires de la journée.
Des accusés qui sont sérieusement soupçonnés d’être les auteurs de meurtres odieux ont sans doute le droit d’être traités humainement, mais ils ne peuvent pas s’attende et n’ont pas le droit de s’attendre d’être traités comme s’ils étaient des visiteurs de marque interviewés à la télévision. Dans cette perspective, c’est injustement, trop souvent, que les officiers de police, dont la tâche est éminemment ingrate, sont accusés d’avoir malmené des suspects pour ne les avoir pas interrogés avec trop de douceur; les avocats criminalistes ne se gênent pas, quand une occasion leur est offerte, pour protester contre les prétendus traitements auxquels leurs clients auraient pu être assujettis, et ce, à grand renfort de publicité dans les journaux; cela fait l’affaire des frustrés, des mécontents perpétuels, des timorés et surtout des ennemis de l’ordre et de l’autorité; cela plaît aussi à ceux qui croient que la liberté de l’individu comporte pour lui le droit de violer celle des autres.
(…)
L’assassinat des trois Américains dont Coffin était alors sérieusement soupçonné n’avait rien de particulièrement édifiant; du moment que la police considérait sérieusement Coffin comme le coupable au fur et à mesure qu’elle découvrait ses mensonges, elle ne pouvait assurément pas être portée à le traiter comme une victime; or, constatons que, malgré tout, les défenseurs de Wilbert Coffin n’ont, apparemment, jamais exprimé un seul grief quant aux traitements subis par leur client avant la veille de son exécution.
Je conclus donc que Coffin n’a pas eu de motifs sérieux de se plaindre de mauvais traitements et que le seul reproche qu’il ait jamais fait quant au « Unfair deal » qu’on lui aurait fait subir, ne pouvait référer qu’aux procédures qui l’ont conduit jusqu’à l’échafaud, plutôt qu’aux traitements dont il avait été l’objet de la part des officiers de la Sûreté provinciale.
Je conclus également qu’est dénué de fondement, démentie par les faits et en soi injurieuse l’accusation portée par M. Hébert contre le capitaine Matte qu’il a « employé toutes les méthodes que pouvait imaginer son cerveau malade pour tenter d’arracher des aveux à Coffin »; certes, le capitaine a pu, avant que Coffin ne fût mis en accusation, tenter, comme c’était d’ailleurs son droit et son devoir, d’obtenir des aveux de Coffin, mais aucune preuve n’a été faite qu’il ait eu recours aux méthodes des experts de la Gestapo; le mot de Coffin à son père le matin de l’enquête du coroner que « they are not men enough to break me » et que la Couronne a mis en preuve devant le jury de Percé a été interprété par ces derniers et par les juges des tribunaux d’appel. La preuve qui en a été faite devant nous a confirmé que ce mot ne pouvait être une allusion à des mauvais traitements, dont Coffin ne s’est d’ailleurs jamais plaint.
J’ajoute que Coffin fut à ce point si peu maltraité par la Sûreté que, dans la nuit du 26 au 27 août 1953, à Gaspé, au lieu d’être logé dans les cellules municipales que les officiers de la Sûreté et le sergent Doyon en particulier considéraient trop malpropres pour y loger un suspect, il fut logé dans l’édifice de la Sûreté dont partie était occupée par la demeure privée du sergent Doyon et qu’il y passa la nuit sur un divan dans l’un des deux boudoirs de la demeure; j’accepte, sur ce point, la version donnée par le sergent Doyon, son épouse et sa sœur, de préférence à celles de deux policiers dont les témoignages ne furent ni convaincants, ni très intelligents. Et, quant aux conditions dans lesquelles Wilbert Coffin fut logé au cours de cette nuit, je dois reconnaître que M. Hébert les a correctement décrites dans son volume; sans doute étaient-elles à l’honneur du sergent Doyon, son principal, sinon son unique informateur; mais ceci ne peut excuser M. Hébert d’avoir été totalement injuste envers le capitaine Matte et les autres officiers de police, ainsi que nous venons de le voir. (A SUIVRE)
RÉAGISSEZ À CE RAPPORT.

WILBERT COFFIN ILL-TREATED BY POLICE?



















Frederik Claar's valise found
by police at Marion Petrie's
place in Montreal

The honourable senator
Jacques Hébert
La plaidoirire par
Honoré Daumier

WILBERT COFFIN ILL-TREATED BY POLICE?
EXCERPT FROM THE BROSSARD REPORT, PART VII, VOLUME 2,
CHAPTER VI

(A literal translation by Clément Fortin)
The order-in-council has given the Commission the mandate to investigate the “credibility of the statements made by Francis Thompson to the Miami police, in November 1958”.
In order to report with full knowledge of the facts, the Commission has inquired into all aspects of this funny incident and it has heard, on this sole subject, 36 witnesses and collected 66 exhibits.
The study of this question suggests the following division:
I - Francis Gabriel Thompson’s personality;
II - The Miami events;
III - Notary J. Conrad Moreau’s trip;
IV - Thompson’s alibi;
V - Thompson’s credibility;
VI - Conclusions.
B) THE VINCENT PATTERSON CASE;
C) THE QUESTIONING OF WILBERT COFFIN, MARION PETRIE AND LEWIS SINNETT;
D) THE TWO PRISONERS WHO WERE PROMPTED TO TESTIFY AGAINST COFFIN

PARTE VII, VOLUME 2, CHAPTER 6 (page 466)
Excerpt from the Brossard report
THE QUESTIONING OF WILBERT COFFIN, MARION PETRIE AND LEWIS SINNETT
In the reproduction, in the Toronto Star issue of the 11th of February, of Wilbert Coffin’s last will and testament and in his own reproduction of this will and testament in the book of Mr. Belliveau, one reads: « I would like that the public know since my arrest, I was not fairly treated ».
It was not a faithful reproduction of the document signed by Coffin, as written by Mtre Gravel; Coffin had said, from the hand of Mtre Gravel, “Since my arrest I never had a fair deal and I do hope no repetition of such unjust affair will occur in my province ».
Coffin had not expressed any such griefs in his affidavit of the 9th of October. Had he expressed any before? Had he been subjected to ill-treatments?
Let us point out that there is more than a nuance, that there is in fact, a difference between « I was not fairly treated » and « I never had a fair deal »; the first expression may refer to moral and physical treatments whereas the second refers rather to the methods used to obtain his conviction and execution.
At page 23 of Mr. Belliveau’s book, one may read what follows :
« He said he was brutally treated under a five-hundred watt light in the fire station basement. Once, he said, he was grilled for eighteen hours at a stretch. When he was thirsty water would be brought and then snatched from him before he could drink. Cigarette would be given and snatched away. When he was dropping from fatigue, he would be slapped back into a chair”.
Drawing obviously his inspiration from this passage of the book of Mr. Belliveau, at least from a passage corresponding to his reports, Mr. Hébert writes in his second book what follows :
Page 74
« But if we believe Coffin, he would have been questioned, on one occasion at least, during 18 hours without interruption. When he asked for water, he was offered a glass and then it was snatched from his hands. They did likewise with cigarettes. He was also questioned while a 500 watt light grilled his eyes. It goes without saying that the police denied all that… »
Page 133
« Matte first tried to force Coffin into a confession. He used all the methods that could imagine his sick brain. The failure was total. Coffin was innocent; when we know him, we understand without pain that the Gestapo experts themselves would not have succeeded to have him say the contrary. »
Mr. Belliveau told us that he does not remember from whom he obtained this information; one thing is for sure, he did not get them from Wilbert Coffin; From whom, then? Surely, not from those who submitted Coffin to examinations; they all came and said the contrary. Then? We are forced to conclude to hearsay or an excess of imagination.
Examined on this subject during this inquiry, Mr. Hébert, denied having drawn his inspiration from Belliveau, which does appear to us as being an inaccuracy, gave, as a sole source for this passage, the information he obtained from Donald Coffin; he tried to add to it, during the inquiry, information of the like received from Mrs. Marion Petrie.
Donald Coffin declared to us that all his brother Wilbert had told him was that he had been questioned for several hours and these questionings were interrupted for maybe half an hour, during which time he rested before the questioning resumed; Donald stated that his brother had expressed no other grief than that.
For her part, Mrs. Marion Petrie told us that she might have heard from Mr. Eugène Létourneau, officer in charge of the Québec jail, information regarding the questionings Coffin was subjected to wherein he was blinded by lights; this information, she might have gathered in the course of a joint interview between her, Mr. Létourneau and Wilbert Coffin. Mr. Létourneau denied ever having been in the presence of Mrs. Petrie and Wilbert Coffin, in any circumstances, denied that Coffin ever was questioned at the very jail, to his knowledge, denied ever having reported to Mrs. Petrie Coffin’s declarations regarding his questionings, denied being aware of a pretended three day questioning to which Coffin was submitted, denied ever being aware of any questionings, either by night or by day, at the Provincial Police , denied that Coffin has ever told him that he was blinded by lamps in the course of his questionings; on one occasion, Coffin told him that that it was long, and in a third circumstance: “They cursed after me.”
Wilbert Coffin was apparently submitted to four main questionings by officers of the Provincial Police, captain Matte, captain Sirois, sergeant Vanhoutte and sergeant Fradette. Three of these questionings took place in Gaspé, the first one on the 28th of July 1953, the second on the 6th of August of 1953 (this is the one that was followed by the signature of a statutory declaration). The third one, on the 9th of August; the fourth one took place in Québec City.
All those officers responsible for those questionings have been heard by this Commission. On the one hand, they all unanimously recognized that the questionings were long, arduous, difficult, tiresome for all those who took part in them and above all, obviously, for the one who was subjected to them, often slow because of Coffin’s attitude, but on the other hand, they stated that during those questionings, Coffin was not molested, threatened, roughed or subjected to malicious deprivation. I abstract from their respective testimonies what I consider the essential part of it.
Jean-Charles Vanhoutte :
It is untrue to say that we lighted before Coffin’s eyes a 500 watt lamp, that we offered him water that we snatched away from him, a minute later, that we did the same for cigarettes; occasionally, during questioning, captain Matte and captain Sirois offered Coffin cigarettes; he, himself, bought cigarette tobacco for Coffin at the end of a questioning and had all he could eat sandwiches in Doyon’s apartment adjoining the Provincial Police office, in Doyon’s absence. We did not use photographers’ portable flash.
Captain Raoul Sirois :
No violent action was, at any time, exerted on Coffin. We never offered Coffin glasses of water to take them back at the last minute; as for cigarettes, it was the same; he admits that on one occasion, at least, he was called a liar.
Captain Matte :
The first questioning of Coffin took place on the night of the 27th or 28th of July and lasted from midnight until four o’clock in the morning, in the presence of Mr. Vanhoutte.
The second questioning he submitted Coffin to, took place on the night of the 9th to the 10th of August from 8 o’clock in the night until nine o’clock in the morning. The witness used the usual method : his intelligence purely and solely; to use his muscles would not have been intelligent, he says. Roughness, says the witness, has never given anything; he never has, himself used roughness; he never used the methods that are attributed to him in the book “I Accuse the Assassins of Coffin”; the statements in the book are entirely false; he always has treated human beings as they should, be they prisoners or not.
Coffin’s third questioning, at Québec City, was most amicable because Coffin is a « gentle fellow and very polite> ».
The witness considers particularly revolting and dirty the statements in the books of Messrs. Belliveau and Hebert that he would have used a 500 watt lamp to blind the detainee during questioning.
As to the questioning that took place on the 6th of August, he is not the one who did it; let us recall that at that moment, captain Matte was in Montréal where he just had obtained from Mrs. Petrie serious and exceptional information and he wanted Coffin to be questioned before the latter would learn the information communicated by Mrs. Petrie.
Mr. Fradette confirmed his colleagues’ statements for this part of the questionings he attended.
Indeed, questioning from 10 to 12 hours, in the night, is great hardships for the one who is submitted to it; police officers have, however, explained to this Commission that the night is the best time for questioning, according to them, for not disrupting their regular day workload.
Defendants who are seriously suspected of obnoxious murders certainly have the right to be treated humanely, but they cannot expect and have no right to expect being treated as if they were v.i.p’s on television. From this angle, it is unjustly, too often, that police officers whose task is eminently unrewarding, are accused of having manhandled suspects for not having questioned them with too much tenderness; criminal lawyers often complain about ill-treatments given their clients and with much publicity in the newspapers; it pleases those who are frustrated, the perpetual grumblers, those who are fearful and specially the enemies of order and authority; it also pleases those who believe that individual freedom entitles them to violate that of the others.
(…)
The murder of the three Americans for which Coffin was seriously suspected had nothing particularly enlightening; since the police seriously considered Coffin guilty as they discovered his lies, they could not be inclined to treat him as a victim; therefore, let us observe that despite this, that Wilbert Coffin’s attorneys, apparently, never expressed any grief as to the treatments their client underwent before the eve of his execution.
Therefore, I conclude that Coffin did not have serious reasons to complain of ill-treatments and the only reproach that he has ever made as to an « Unfair deal » that he would have been submitted to, could only refer to proceedings that led him to the gallows, rather than the treatments he had been the object from the part of Provincial Police officers.
I also conclude that is ill-founded, denied by many facts and in itself insulting the accusation made by Mr. Hébert against captain Matte that he has « used all means that could imagine his sick brain to attempt to get admissions from Coffin »; surely, captain might have, before Coffin was charged, tried, as it was otherwise his duty and right, to obtain admissions from Coffin, but no proof was made that he used means of Gestapo experts; the word Coffin told his father on the morning of the Coroner’s inquest that “they are not man enough to break me” and that the Crown has entered as evidence before the Percé jury was interpreted by the latter and by the justices of appeal courts. The proof submitted to us confirmed that this word was not alluding to ill-treatment, for which Coffin otherwise never complained.
Furthermore, Coffin was so little ill-treated by the Provincial Police that, on the night of the 26th to the 27th of August 1953, at Gaspé, instead of lodging in municipal cells that the Provincial Police officers considered too dirty to lodge a suspect, he spent the night in the Police headquarters which part of it was occupied by sergeant Doyon and that he spent the night on the couch of his home; I accept, on this point, the version given by sergeant Doyon, his spouse and her sister, in preference to those of two police officers whose testimonies were neither convincing nor very intelligent. And as to the conditions wherein Wilbert Coffin was lodged that night, I must recognize that Mr. Hébert has described them correctly in his book; doubtlessly, they were favourable to sergeant Doyon, his main, if not his unique informant; but this may not excuse Mr. Hébert for having been totally unjust towards captain Matte and the other police officers, as we have just seen. (TO BE FOLLOWED)
YOUR COMMENTS, PLEASE.

15 mai 2009

VINCENT PATTERSON: UN INDICATEUR (STOOL PIGEON) DANS L'AFFAIRE COFFIN?











L'honorable sénateur
Jacques Hébert
La camionnette que Baker avait
prêtée à Coffin
VINCENT PATTERSON : INDICATEUR (STOOL PIGEON) DANS L’AFFAIRE COFFIN?
EXTRAIT DU RAPPORT BROSSARD PARTIE VI, VOL. 2, CHAPIRE VI,

L’arrêté en conseil a donné mandat à la Commission de faire enquête « sur la crédibilité des déclarations faites par Francis Thompson à la police de Miami, en novembre 1958 ».
Pour pouvoir se prononcer en connaissance de cause, la Commission a donc enquêté sur tous les aspects de ce curieux incident et elle a, sur ce seul sujet entendu 36 témoins et recueilli 66 pièces à conviction.
L’étude de la matière suggère la division suivante :
I – LA PERSONNALITÉ DE FRANCIS GABRIEL THOMPSON;
II – LES ÉVÈNEMENTS DE MIAMI;
III- LE VOYAGE DU NOTAIRE J. CONRAD MOREAU;
IV – L’ALIBI DE THOMPSON
V – LA CRÉDIBILITÉ DE THOMPSON
VI – CONCLUSIONS
NOTA NE MANQUEZ PAS CE CHAPITRE DU RAPPORT BROSSARD SUR LE VOYAGE DU NOTAIRE MOREAU À MIAMI. C’EST ROCAMBOLESQUE, VOIRE ÉPOUSTOUFLANT… UN ROMAN TORDANT! DU JACQUES HÉBERT A SON MEILLEUR!

B) LE CAS DE VINCENT PATTERSON;
C)LES INTERROGATOIRES DE WILBERT COFFIN, MARION PETRIE ET LEWIS SINNETT ;
D) LES DEUX PRISONNIERS QUE L’ON AURAIT INCITÉS À TÉMOIGNER CONTRE COFFIN.

Chapitre 7
LE CAS DE VINCENT PATTERSON
L’enquête policière conduite à Gaspé avait établi que pendant une période de durée indéterminée, mais se terminant au moins avant le 7 juin 1953, un nommé Vincent Patterson avait fait en compagnie de Billy Baker et de Jack Eagle de la prospection non loin du camp de Wilbert Coffin; Wilbert, Donald et Leslie Coffin faisaient eux aussi de la prospection dans les mêmes parages; au cours de cette période, Patterson travailla pour le premier.
En avril 1954, le sergent Doyon, qui était encore attaché au Poste de Gaspé, croyant pouvoir obtenir de ce Vincent Patterson des informations intéressantes, obtint la permission de ses chefs de se faire accompagner par l’agent Sinnett pour aller interroger Patterson à Toronto où Patteson habitait depuis déjà quelques mois.
Dans un rapport du 26 avril 1954 qu’il faisait tenir au capitaine de la Police judiciaire, en l’occurrence monsieur Henri Charland, Doyon mentionnait, entre autres choses, ce qui suit :
a) Patterson lui aurait raconté que, pendant qu’il faisait ainsi de la prospection à la fin de mai, il s’était rendu un soir au camp de Wilbert Coffin où il y avait rencontré Donald Coffin et qu’au cours de la conversation, ce dernier aurait dit qu’il n’hésiterait pas à tirer sur quiconque « viendrait lui causer des ennuis au sujet des endroits où il prospectait ».
b) Patterson aurait également déclaré que le soir du 11 juin, alors qu’il sortait de la maison de son père, il vit passer Wilbert en camion, que celui-ci s’arrêta, et qu’à la suite d’une demande de Patterson à Wilbert que celui-ci paie deux jours de travail que Patterson prétendait lui être dus, il y eut entre eux une discussion assez vive; Wilbert aurait été ivre et lui aurait fait la réponse qu’il ne le paierait pas et aurait menacé de se battre.
c) Patterson aurait aussi déclaré que, alors qu’il était à Fort Churchill, il reçut un télégramme de son frère Anthony lui conseillant de ne pas parler s’il venait à être interrogé au sujet de l’affaire Coffin; ceci se serait passé plusieurs semaines après les meurtres.
d) Patterson aurait aussi déclaré que le 10 juin, il s’était fait conduire par un nommé Coleman et devait monter à bord d’un brise-glace et qu’il quitta Gaspé, à ces fins, le dimanche matin suivant.
e) Patterson aurait aussi émis l’opinion que Wilbert Coffin « en boisson pouvait faire n’importe quoi ».

Le sergent Doyon terminait son rapport en disant : « Il resterait donc à contrôler avec Coleman Patterson si réellement Vincent s’est bien rendu à Gaspé avec lui la journée du 10 juin. »
Il ne paraît pas que Coleman Patterson ait jamais été interrogé à ce sujet par qui que ce soit, ni par le sergent Doyon, ni par le capitaine Matte, ni par un autre officier de la Police provinciale.
Interrogé par cette Commission, à deux reprises, Vincent Patterson nia avoir déclaré au sergent Doyon que Donald Coffin lui avait fait la menace envers des Américains mentionnée par le sergent dans son rapport d’avril 1954; ce dont il avait fait part au sergent, c’était une anecdote qu’on lui avait racontée à l’effet que Donald, pendant la guerre de 1939-44, avait, au cours d’une sortie sur les lignes ennemies, tiré seul trois coups de fusil qui auraient dû, en fait, être tirés par lui-même et deux autres soldats. Vincent Patterson nous affirma qu’il n’était pas sûr de la date du 11 juin, mais qu’il était certain que sa rencontre avec Wilbert avait eu lieu une journée ou deux avant son départ pour Québec qui avait eu lieu un dimanche. Il confirma avoir reçu de son frère Anthony le télégramme dont parlait le rapport de monsieur Doyon.
Nous avons pu vérifier que Patterson avait rencontré Wilbert Coffin au retour de ce dernier du bois, que Patterson avait effectivement obtenu quelques jours auparavant un emploi à bord d’un brise-glace, que le 14 juin 1953 était un dimanche, et que, dès lors, la rencontre s’étant effectuée une ou deux journées auparavant, il était plus que raisonnablement certain qu’elle avait eu lieu, non pas le 11, mais le 12 juin, car le 13 Coffin était reparti. Nous avons également été informés que le télégramme envoyé par Anthony le fut à la suggestion de son père à la suite de la publication de certaines nouvelles dans les journaux. Nous avons pu constater que le père de Vincent Patterson est un homme qui s’adonne régulièrement et énergiquement à la boisson et que lorsqu’il est en état d’ébriété, nul ne peut se fier à ce qu’il dit non plus qu’au processus de sa pensée.
Personne ne nous a suggéré et personne ne paraît avoir jamais soupçonné que Vincent Patterson ait pu avoir connaissance des meurtres; telle fut manifestement l’opinion des officiers chargés de l’enquête policière, et surtout celle du sergent Doyon. Il n’y a donc pas lieu, croyons-nous, de nous attarder plus longuement à cet aspect particulier de la question sans risquer de commettre une très grave injustice.
Cependant, une autre question a été soulevée au sujet de Vincent Patterson par monsieur Jacques Hébert.
La preuve établit qu’au début du procès de Québec, en juillet 1954, Vincent reçut un subpoena de comparaître au procès; lors de son arrivée en Gaspésie, dès le premier soir, il se présenta au bureau de la Sûreté, à Percé; il y fut interrogé par le capitaine Matte ou peut-être par un autre officier, ou même par l’un des procureurs de la Couronne, car, sur ce point, la preuve qui nous a été offerte a été plus que floue. Il appert également qu’après cet interrogatoire, il reçut une certaine somme d’argent pour tenter d’obtenir, à Gaspé, par des interrogatoires discrets, des renseignements qui pourraient être utiles à la Couronne. Il quitta donc Percé pour se rendre à Gaspé; il n’y séjourna cependant que deux jours; il n’eut pas l’occasion de parler avec beaucoup de monde, car dès le premier soir, au bar d’un hôtel, il reçut de Billy Baker des coups de poing pour s’être apparemment montré auprès de lui un peut trop inquisiteur; il fut immédiatement rappelé à Percé et reçut instructions de s’en retourner à Toronto. Il ne témoigna par conséquent pas au procès.
Dans le second livre de Hébert, on lit, à la page 52 et à la page 53, ce qui suit.
Page 52
« C’est ainsi que, dès le début du procès, on a aperçu à Gaspé et dans les alentours un nommé Vincent Paterson, de Toronto, dont la mission secrète semblait être de payer à boire aux personnes qui témoignaient au procès, dans le but de leur soutirer des renseignements ou d’influencer leur témoignage.

« On emmena Patterson à Percé dans le but de le faire témoigner au procès comme témoin de la police. Il n’a jamais comparu parce que son témoignage, vaguement incriminant pour Donald Coffin, devenait utile à la défense de Wilbert Coffin. »
« Comme il était rendu à Percé et comme on ne pouvait guère compter sur des Gaspésiens pour ce genre de besogne, la police décida d’utiliser Patterson pour cuisiner certains témoins. »
Page 53 :
« Si vraiment ce Vincent Patterson a été payé par la Police provinciale pour faire une aussi sale besogne, l’affaire n’aurait pas dû en rester là. Ce scandale était de nature à révolter la nation toute entière. Mas la défense, avec l’incurie qui la caractérisait, n’a pas insisté davantage. D’ailleurs, on sait comme il était facile d’obtenir justice dans cette province quand la Police provinciale était en cause. »
Interrogé au cours de cette enquête sur les raisons pour lesquelles la Couronne avait décidé de ne pas faire entendre Vincent Patterson après l’avoir assigné comme témoin, Me Dorion nous donna les explications suivantes :
Tout d’abord, Vincent Patterson n’avait pas le droit de rendre un témoignage qui eut été de nature à toucher au caractère (réputation) de Wilbert Coffin en ce qui avait trait à l’état dans lequel il se trouvait lorsqu’il prenait de la boisson.
En second lieu, la police avait été informée que depuis son arrivée à Gaspé, Patterson s’était tenu pratiquement toujours ivre et n’était pas en mesure de rendre témoignage.
En troisième lieu, il semblait à la police que Patterson « essayait de voir des témoins, comme Baker par exemple qui n’était pas du tout sympathique à la Couronne, et de leur faire dire un tas de choses, alors qu’il n’avait reçu aucun mandant quelconque, à ce que je sache, de la Couronne ou de la Police provinciale, pour faire la besogne de celle-ci ».
Personne ne s’est présenté, à la demande ou à la suggestion de qui que ce soit, qui nous permet d’affirmer, comme monsieur Hébert, que Patterson avait reçu la mission secrète de payer à boire à des témoins dans le but d’influencer leur témoignage. Il ne paraît pas faire de doute cependant que la police ait tenté de faire jouer à Patterson le rôle d’informateur ou ce que l’on décrit en certains milieux comme celui de « stool pigeon ». Ce sont des méthodes auxquelles malheureusement la police se voit dans l’obligation de recourir pour obtenir des renseignements de personnes qui, pour quelque raison que ce soit, ne sont pas disposées à les offrir d’elles-mêmes à la police pour l’aider à connaître la vérité. Il est extrêmement regrettable que la police soit obligée de recourir à ces méthodes, mais il n’y a pas lieu de crier au scandale; les vrais responsables d’un tel état de choses sont les « honnêtes citoyens, dénudés de sens civique, qui gardent le silence lorsqu’ils devraient parler; ce paraît avoir été le cas, en Gaspésie, à l’époque de l’affaire Coffin en particulier, et il semblerait que monsieur John Edward Belliveau n’ait pas eu tort tout à fait de parler de « Gaspé the inscrutable. »
Certes, il ne peut y avoir de doute que Patterson eût été un témoin peu fiable pour qui que ce soit, si nous en jugeons par les nombreuses contradictions dans les témoignages qu’il a rendus devant nous, par ses absences de mémoire réelles ou simulées et par les contradictions entre son témoignage devant cette Commission et les renseignements qu’il avait communiqués au sergent Doyon en avril 1954; à ce point de vue, la Couronne ne pouvait être justifiée de ne le pas faire entendre; nous ne sommes pas satisfaits cependant que la défense n’était ou n‘eût pu être intéressée à le faire entendre, à ses risques évidemment. Aucune preuve ne nous a été faite que la défense était au courant des renseignements que le sergent Doyon prétendait avoir obtenus de Vincent Patterson ni qu’elle ait été au courant que Patterson avait été assigné comme témoin. Dans l’ignorance où elle était alors que la défense ne ferait pas entendre de témoins parce qu’elle ne voulait pas faire entendre Coffin, la Couronne n’avait-elle pas le devoir d’informer la défense du contenu du rapport du sergent Doyon d’avril 1954 et de la présence à Percé de Vincent Patterson? C’est une question à laquelle nous donnerons une réponse dans un chapitre prochain. (À SUIVRE)
VOS COMMENTAIRES, S.V.P.

VINCENT PATTERSON: A STOOL PIGEON IN THE COFFIN AFFAIR?











The honourable senator Jacques Hébert
The pick-up truck that Baker lent to
Coffin
VINCENT PATTERSON: A STOOL PIGEON IN THE COFFIN AFFAIR?

EXCERPT FROM THE BROSSARD REPORT, PART VI, VOLUME 2,
CHAPTER VI

(A literal translation by Clément Fortin)
The order-in-council has given the Commission the mandate to investigate the “credibility of the statements made by Francis Thompson to the Miami police, in November 1958”.
In order to report with full knowledge of the facts, the Commission has inquired into all aspects of this funny incident and it has heard, on this sole subject, 36 witnesses and collected 66 exhibits.
The study of this question suggests the following division:
I - Francis Gabriel Thompson’s personality;
II - The Miami events;
III - Notary J. Conrad Moreau’s trip;
IV - Thompson’s alibi;
V - Thompson’s credibility;
VI - Conclusions.
B) THE VINCENT PATTERSON CASE;
C) THE QUESTIONING OF WILBERT COFFIN, MARION PETRIE AND LEWIS SINNETT;
D) THE TWO PRISONERS WHO WERE PROMPTED TO TESTIFY AGAINST COFFIN
-VI-
VINCENT PATTERSON: A STOOL PIGEON IN THE COFFIN AFFAIR?
EXCERPT FROM THE BROSSARD REPORT, VOLUME 2, CHAPTER 7
THE VINCENT PATTERSON CASE
(A literal translation by Clément Fortin)
The police investigation conducted at Gaspé had established that during an indeterminate period, but ending at least before the 7th of June 1953, the man named Vincent Patterson had done, with Billy Baker and Jack Eagle, some prospecting near Wilbert Coffin’s camp; Wilbert, Donald and Leslie Coffin were also doing prospecting in the same vicinity; in the course of that period, Patterson worked with Wilbert Coffin or the latter worked for the former. On April 1954, sergeant Doyon, who was still at the Gaspé post, thought he could get from Vincent Patterson interesting information, and for so doing he was granted permission by his superiors to go, with officer Sinnett, to Toronto, where Patterson was living for a few months already, to question him.
In a report dated the 26th of April 1954 that he sent to the captain of the judiciary police, in this case Mr. Henri Charland, Doyon mentioned, among other things, what follows :
a) Patterson would have told him that while he was prospecting at the end of May, he had gone one night to Wilbert Coffin’s camp where he met Donald Coffin and during a conversation, the latter would have said that he would not hesitate to shoot whoever « would cause him trouble regarding the places where he was prospecting. »
b) Patterson would have also said that on the night of the 11th of June, while he was coming out of his father’s house, he saw Wilbert passing by, in a truck, that the latter stopped, and that following a request from Patterson to Wilbert that the latter pays two days of work that Patterson pretended was owed him, there was between the two of them a pretty strong argument; Wilbert would have been drunk and he told him that he would not pay him and would have threatened him to fight.
c) Patterson would also have said that, while he was at Fort Churchill, he received a telegram from his brother Anthony who advised him to not speak if he was called to testify about the Coffin affair;
d) Patterson would also have said that on the 10th of June, he had someone to drive him to the man named Coleman Patterson, at Gaspé, and that he spent the day preparing for his departure for Québec where he was to embark on an icebreaker and that he left Gaspé, to that end, the following Sunday morning.
e) Patterson would also have expressed the opinion that When drunk Wilbert Coffin could do anything .»

Sergeant Doyon ended his report saying : « Therefore, we should verify with Coleman Patterson if Vincent really went to Gaspé with him on the 10th of June ».
It does not appear that Coleman Patterson has ever been questioned on this subject by whomever, either by sergeant Doyon or captain Matte or by another officer of the Provincial Police.
Examined by this Commission, on two occasions, Vincent Patterson denied having declared to sergeant Doyon that Donald had threatened the Americans mentioned by sergeant Doyon in his report of April 1954; he had told sergeant Doyon that he was told an anecdote about Donald who had, during the 1939-44 War, in the course of a sortie on the enemy lines shot three times with his rifle which should have been, in fact, shot by himself and two other soldiers. Vincent Patterson told us that he was not sure of the date of the 11th of June, but that he was sure that his meeting with Wilbert had taken place a day or two before his departure for Québec City which was on a Sunday. He confirmed having received from his brother Anthony a telegram as mentioned in Mr. Doyon’s report.
We have been able to verify that Patterson had met Wilbert Coffin when the latter returned from the bush, that Patterson had effectively obtained a few days before getting a job on board an icebreaker, that the 14th of June 1953 was a Sunday, and that, therefore, the meeting took place one or two days before, it was more than reasonably certain that it had taken place, not on the 11th, but on the 12th, because the 13th Coffin was gone again. We were also informed that Anthony had sent his telegram at the suggestion of his father following the publication of certain news in the papers. We have been able to see that Vincent Patterson’s father is a man who indulges in liquor, regularly and energetically, and that when he is drunk no one can rely on what he says and what he thinks.
No one has suggested to us and no one appears to ever have suspected Vincent Patterson of being aware of the murders; such was obviously the opinion of the police officers in charge of the investigation, and moreover, that of sergeant Doyon. There is no need, we believe, to linger over this particular aspect of the matter without risking of committing a very serious injustice.
However, another question was brought up concerning Vincent Patterson by Mr. Jacques Hébert.
The evidence made at the beginning of the Québec trial, on July 1954, Vincent was subpoenaed; when he arrived in Gaspésie, the very first night, he showed up at the Police headquarter, at Percé; he was questioned by captain Matte or maybe another officer, or even by one of the Crown attorneys, because, on this point, the proof that was submitted to us was more than vague. It also appears that after that questioning, he received a certain amount of money to obtain, at Gaspé, through discreet questionings, information that could be useful to the Crown. He left Percé for Gaspé; he only stayed two days; he did not have the chance to speak with many people, for, the very first night, at a hotel bar, he received from Billy Baker punches for having shown himself too inquisitive; he was immediately recalled to Percé and received instructions to return to Toronto. He therefore did not testify at the trial.
In Hébert’s second book, we read, at page 52 and at page 53, what follows :
Page 52
« That is how, from the beginning of the trial, we saw at Gaspé and in the vicinity a man named Vincent Patterson, from Toronto, whose secret mission seemed to be to pay drinks to the persons who testified at the trial, with a view of getting from them information or influence their testimony.
...
“Patterson was brought to Percé with the intention to have him as a police witness. He never appeared because his testimony, vaguely incriminating for Donald Coffin, was becoming useful to Wilbert Coffin’s defence.
« Since he was at Percé and as we could not count on Gaspesians for this kind of job, the police decided to use Patterson to pump certain witnesses. »
Page 53 :
« If really this Vincent Patterson was paid by the Provincial Police for this dirty job, this affair should have been carried forward. This scandal was the kind that would revolt a whole nation. But the defence, with the carelessness that characterized it, did not insist further. Moreover, we know how easy it was to obtain justice in this province when the Provincial Police was involved. »
Questioned in the course of this enquiry on the reasons why the Crown had decided not to call Vincent Patterson to the witness stand after having subpoenaed him, Mtre Dorion gave us the following explanation :
Firstly, Vincent Patterson had no right to testify on something that would have concerned Wilbert Coffin’s character (reputation) as to the state he was in when he drank liquor.
Secondly, the police was informed that since his arrival in Gaspé, Patterson was practically always drunk and was not able to testify.
Thirdly, it appeared to the police that Patterson « was trying to see witnesses, like Baker, for example, who were not in favour of the Crown, and prompt them to say a lot of things, while he was not asked by anyone, that I know of, either by the Crown or the Provincial Police, to do the work of the latter. »
No one has shown up, either at the request or at the suggestion of whomever, that might allow us to affirm, as does Mr. Hébert, that Patterson was entrusted with a secret mission to pay drinks to witnesses with a view to influence their testimony. Without a doubt, it appears that the police have attempted to have Patterson play the stool pigeon. Unfortunately, the police must resort to those methods to obtain information from people who, for whatever reason, are not prepared to cooperate with the police in its search of truth. It is extremely regrettable that the police have to use those methods, but there is no cause for scandal; those responsible are those « honest citizens, lacking a civic sense of responsibility, who keep silent while they should talk; it seems to have been the case, in Gaspésie, at the time of the Coffin affair in particular, and it would seem that Mr. John Edward Belliveau was not totally wrong when he said « Gaspé the inscrutable. »
Of course, there is no doubt that Patterson would not have been a reliable witness for whoever, if we consider the numerous contradictions in his testimonies before us, his absence of memory, real or faked, and the contradictions between his testimony before this Commission and the information he had given sergeant Doyon in April 1954; we are not satisfied however that the defence was not or might not have been interested to call him to the witness stand, at its risks obviously. No proof was submitted to us that the defence knew the information that sergeant Doyon pretended having obtained from Vincent Paterson or that it was informed that Patterson was summoned as witness. Not knowing that the defence would not call witnesses to the stand because it did not want Coffin to testify, had the Crown the duty to inform the defence of the content of sergeant Doyon’s report of April 1954 and of the presence at Percé of Vincent Patterson? I shall answer this question in a later chapter. (TO BE CONTINUED)
YOUR COMMENTS, PLEASE.

8 mai 2009

JACQUES HÉBERT CENSURÉ SÉVÈREMENT PAR LA COMMISSION BROSSARD DANS L'AFFAIRE COFFIN
















L'honorable sénateur Jacques Hébert
La pompe, le couteau et la
valise que la police a retrouvés
chez Marion Petrie à Montréal
JACQUES HÉBERT CENSURÉ SÉVÈREMENT PAR LA COMMISSION BROSSARD DANS L’AFFAIRE COFFIN

EXTRAIT DU RAPPORT BROSSARD PARTIE VI, VOL. 2, CHAPIRE VI,

L' INCIDENT THOMPSON

L’arrêté en conseil a donné mandat à la Commission de faire enquête « sur la crédibilité des déclarations faites par Francis Thompson à la police de Miami, en novembre 1958 ».
Pour pouvoir se prononcer en connaissance de cause, la Commission a donc enquêté sur tous les aspects de ce curieux incident et elle a, sur ce seul sujet entendu 36 témoins et recueilli 66 pièces à conviction.
L’étude de la matière suggère la division suivante :
I – LA PERSONNALITÉ DE FRANCIS GABRIEL THOMPSON;
II – LES ÉVÈNEMENTS DE MIAMI;
III- LE VOYAGE DU NOTAIRE J. CONRAD MOREAU;
IV – L’ALIBI DE THOMPSON
V – LA CRÉDIBILITÉ DE THOMPSON
VI – CONCLUSIONS
NOTA NE MANQUEZ PAS CE CHAPITRE DU RAPPORT BROSSARD SUR LE VOYAGE DU NOTAIRE MOREAU À MIAMI. C’EST ROCAMBOLESQUE, VOIRE ÉPOUSTOUFLANT… UN ROMAN TORDANT! DU JACQUES HÉBERT A SON MEILLEUR!

B) LES INTERROGATOIRES DE WILBERT COFFIN, MARION PETRIE ET LEWIS SINNETT ;
C) LE CAS DE VINCENT PATTERSON;
E) LES DEUX PRISONNIERS QUE L’ON AURAIT INCITÉS À TÉMOIGNER CONTRE COFFIN.

VI
L’INCIDENT THOMPSON : CONCLUSIONS
Au terme de cette étude de l’incident Thompson, la Commission arrive à des conclusions de deux ordres.
Tout d’abord, pour répondre à l’arrêté en conseil dont la disposition pertinente est citée au début de ce chapitre, la Commission est d’opinion, en se basant sur la personnalité de Francis Gabriel Thompson, sur les circonstances et la teneur de sa « confession à la police de Miami et de sa rétractation subséquente, ainsi que sur la preuve entourant les allées et venues de Thompson en 1953, que celui-ci n’a as été impliqué dans le meurtre des trois chasseurs américains en Gaspésie en 1953 et qu’il n’y a pas lieu d’ajouter foi à sa « confession » de novembre 1958 à la police de Miami.
D’autre part, la Commission est également d’opinion qu’il y a lieu de censurer sévèrement le chapitre 16, intitulé « L’affaire Thompson », que Monsieur Hébert a consacré à cet épisode dans son deuxième volume. En effet, le soir même de l’expérience du détecteur de mensonges, le 3 décembre 1958, Monsieur Hébert donnait au poste de radio CKAC de Montréal un reportage où il disait, entre autres :
« Il semble bien que Thompson n’est pas le meurtrier des chasseurs américains, comme il l’a avoué avant de le nier ensuite. »

« J’ai moi-même questionné Thompson pendant une demi-heure et je suis à peu près convaincu de son innocence. »
Devant la Commission, Monsieur Hébert* a cependant déclaré que deux événements subséquents l’avaient amené à changer d’idée et à écrire ce chapitre, savoir : le voyage du notaire Moreau et le témoignage de Régis Quirion. La preuve a révélé le peu de poids de ces deux « événements ».
La Commission croit, pour les motifs qu’elle a exposés en détail tout au cours de ce chapitre, que Monsieur Jacques Hébert a fait preuve d’irresponsabilité dans le chapitre 16 de son deuxième volume et que ce chapitre 16, dans son ensemble, est mal fondé, comme bien d’autres, d’ailleurs. (À SUIVRE)
• Rappelons-nous que l’incident Thompson a eu lieu en 1958 et que Jacques Hébert a publié son deuxième volume en 1963.