Monday, July 7, 2008

Truscott gets blood money --- Lynne Harper's father gets squat

No amount of money can compensate for what Steven Truscott went through -- trying for 48 years to clear his name in a sex slaying he did not commit; facing a death sentence at the age of fourteen after a closed trial that violated every precept of due process, and despite forensic evidence that didn't even amount to probable cause let alone proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Still today, nearly a year after he was finally acquitted, Truscott received an out-of-court settlement for $6.5 million.

That's all well and good; but the fact remains the investigation of who killed Lynne Harper remains open. All the evidence that could have pinned the real killer is useless; and the guy who should have been the prime suspect all along was cremated upon his death in 1975 and no blood samples were taken from him at the morgue.

To add insult to injury, the maximum payout available to Lynne's father Leslie -- if he ever applied for it -- is a paltry $50,000. That's it. I submit that there should be just and adequate compensation for the Harpers too. No amount of money can truly compensate for the murder of a minor any more than for the wrongful conviction of a suspect. But where the then Crown Attorney deliberately colluded with the federal Defence Department to ensure an innocent person would hang, then there should be compensation for the victim's family on a dollar-for-dollar basis at the minimum; and in this case the bill should be split equally between the federal and provincial governments.

One last thing: This should be a case for America's Most Wanted. They've solved colder cases than this, and someone out there knows the truth. It's time a wider audience was told the story -- and old memories pried open. I believe the killer is still alive and out there and he needs to be caught so that both the Harpers and the Truscotts can have justice once and for all.

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KC said...

Im confused. Are you saying every family of a murder victim should receive government compensation? Or just when government incompetence allowed the killer to get away unpunished?

Sounds like a pretty hefty burden on the state and thus vicariously the taxpayer.

BlastFurnace said...

The $50k cap I referred to is the maximum payout available from the Criminal Injuries' Compensation Board and deals with claims ranging from common assault to murder and treason; on the dreaded "meat chart" scale with variances based on actual losses to income, mental anguish etc. (I am aware of some who have applied for compensation for child abuse, for instance.) It's a relatively little known unit of the government and operates similar to Worker's Compensation -- but is so little known that most victims of crime are never even told that it exists, so it's not that much of a burden for the government unlike the unfunded liability for worker's comp.

My point is on the rare occasion where there is proof of a wrongful conviction, both the wrongly accused and the victim (or victim's estate, as the case may be) should share equally in whatever damages are assessed for pain and suffering, punitive, etc. As for concerns on how this is paid out, a) the "fund" should be reimbursed from proceeds of other crimes so that it's self-financing and not completely reliant on the taxpayer; and b) such damages be set so that it should act as a deterrent to law enforcement who might otherwise do a crappy job; as was so obvious in this case.

It's worth remembering Guy Paul Morin only collected $1.25 million for his wrongful conviction and it all went to pay his legal bills. The Jessops, like the Harpers, got virtually nothing.

Anonymous said...

The Harper family suffered, yes, but they still blame Truscott, I knew someone who the Harper girl and said she used to hitchhike a great deal. The family did not know their girl that well. I seem to think ,along with others, that the Airman who drove a car near the Clinton Air force Base, was the one who did it. You would think the family by now, could see that Truscott couldn't have done it., or at least hesitate.

Anonymous said...

I first heard of this story 16 years ago when looking at photos and news clippings and my mom kepts tucked away. One of them was this huge print out the Jounal did in 1972 about this case. At the time I was 17 when I read this story and knew dam well there was no way Truscott did this murder. As for the pay out.. He bloody well deserives every cent he gets.

Good dam it there are so many cases like this where the police NEED to wrap it up YESTERDAY because "presure" is placed on the detectives. And it is not the police departments fault, it's politics and the higher ups demanding a quick ending. Look through history most of the time the results are not accurate and concussive.

Peoples Names and lives are dragged through the mud. Over and Over again. Because some jack ass says to "hurry up".

As for the Harper family yes they have suffered, no parent should ever outlive their children!! but they did not bother to go through the evidence and look hard into the case. If this was my friend, relative or heaven forbid my child. I would like to know every bit of detail because I myself would feel some responsiblty towards my childs death.(even in 1959 its the type of person I am). I would want to make dam sure the right person was in there doing their time!!

What parent lets their child at 12 hitch-hike?? Even then at 12!!! Ya I know how things where back then, hear it all the time. But you dont hear 12 year olds back then out there looking for a ride... NOT THEN... and sure the hell not now.

Plus you live in a community where there are many known sex offenders including in your own sargents.. Come on now files/profiles are kept on hand at a base. The father either knew or heard about it sometime during his career... Plus a number of others passing through or settled.

The weather is another factor. The Doctor statement and his notes really bother me for a case back then (now can they get that close for time of death not then). Just the time frame period, tracks in the mud(again weather plays a factor).. and so on... Sorry but the detectives assumed to quickly period.