Thursday, August 30, 2007

It was never about the money, Mr. Harper

Two days after Steven Truscott was finally acquitted of the 1959 murder of Lynne Harper, a rather bizarre and sad twist. Lynne's father, Leslie, said the only reason Truscott sought a review of his conviction was so he could get compensation.

I suggested a couple days ago that a large sum of money -- say, 50 big ones -- was not out of reason in a case like this. But for Truscott, it was never about the money. It was about restoring his good name and clearing his rap sheet, something he got for something he didn't do.

And the fact remains, Harper's murder investigation has now officially reopened. While the man Truscott suspected really did it is long dead, it's quite possible that the real killer is still alive -- and has been enjoying himself watching both Truscott and Mr. Harper suffer. If that coward is eventually caught and convicted, I hope he also is forced to pay civil damages -- make it $100 million, $50 million each for the two men whose lives have been inextricably tied because of this deplorable tragedy. True -- no amount of money can count for the lives destroyed. But there must be some quantum, especially in a case that is much infamy to us as the Shanghai justice that was dealt upon Bruno Hauptmann in the States seven decades ago.

We actually owe Mr. Truscott a great deal of gratitude. Thanks to him, secret trials are now only used in the rarest of cases, such as for reasons of national security. Police can no longer conceal evidence on pain of jeopardy attaching. And of course, Canada no longer has the death penalty.

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