Judge dismisses Truscott motive
Key point in 1959 trial ‘offensive’
A judge at the Steven Truscott appeal Friday dismissed as “offensive” the motive that helped convict Truscott 47 years ago.
In a surprising outburst at the end of the day, Justice Michael Moldaver of the Ontario Court of Appeal said he and his fellow judges had already rejected the so-called substitution theory.
At the 1959 trial in Goderich, Ont., the Crown argued 12-year-old Lynne Harper was an unlucky substitute for a girl who broke a “secret” date with Truscott the night Lynne vanished.
The Crown said a lustful Truscott, then 14, was determined to take any girl into the bush, and killed Lynne when she refused his sexual advances.
“(The substitution theory) was offensive when the Crown went to the jury with it,” Moldaver said. “Speaking for myself, I don’t know why you would think that we would bring that kind of thinking to this case. (The current Crown) says that’s off the table, we accept that’s off the table.”
Moldaver made the comments after Truscott’s lawyers spent the afternoon attacking the credibility of Jocelyn Gaudet, the 13-year-old who told police she could not make the secret date, but searched for Truscott afterwards.
Truscott denies making a date with Jocelyn.
Lawyer James Lockyer said previously undisclosed police notes and witness statements suggest Jocelyn was looking for Lynne, not Truscott, the night of June 9, 1959. That makes the secret date story less plausible, Lockyer argued.
Another of Truscott’s lawyers used different ammunition to undercut Jocelyn’s tale.
Marlys Edwardh asked the court to accept the evidence of two women who testified last summer that Jocelyn told them at a 1966 nursing school gathering she lied on the stand in 1959.
In a 2002 interview before Justice Fred Kaufman, Jocelyn denied the nursing school conversation took place.