The fight to prevent cashing in on crime
Saskatchewan law unlikely to affect Colin Thatcher, whose book
has stirred anger of victims' rights groups
Convicted killer Colin Thatcher's forthcoming book has prompted the
Saskatchewan government to consider laws that would deny criminals payment
for writing accounts of their crimes.
Mr. Thatcher, the millionaire Saskatchewan MLA convicted of the 1983
murder of his ex-wife, began writing a book dissecting the case against him
in 2006, the year he was paroled.
When news broke last week that ECW Press, a Toronto firm, would publish
Mr. Thatcher's 110,000-word Final Appeal: Anatomy of a Frame,
victims' advocacy groups objected to the possibility of Mr. Thatcher
profiting from the crime.
Unlike Manitoba, Alberta, Nova Scotia and Ontario, Saskatchewan does not
prevent criminals from selling the tale of their crimes.
Colin Thatcher, shown in 2003, was convicted of murder in 1984. His
coming book is titled Final Appeal: Anatomy of a Frame.
(GEOFF HOWE/MOOSE JAW TIMES HERALD/THE CANADIAN
Justice Minister Don Morgan said yesterday that news of Mr. Thatcher's tome
had prompted a caucus debate concerning the merits of adopting a similar law.
While the discussion raised the possibility of bolstering victims' rights in
Saskatchewan, Mr. Morgan said the province will not impose any retroactive law
targeted at Mr. Thatcher.
"We don't want to do something that would be a knee-jerk reaction," he said.
"He has free-speech rights. If he wants to assert his innocence, it's his
absolute right to do that."
According to ECW, Mr. Thatcher's book will focus more on the events that
unfolded after his conviction than on the crime itself.
As he began a jail term that would stretch to 22 years, Mr. Thatcher and a
lawyer hired a private investigator to find new evidence.
"Over the next 10 or 12 years, this private investigator uncovered all sorts
of information that had not been revealed in the trial," ECW publisher Jack Ryan
said. "It was information crucial to Colin's defence."
When Mr. Ryan showed the original manuscript to a lawyer, "he said based on
this book that a jury would likely rule that there's reasonable doubt."
Mr. Ryan researched laws regarding criminal restitution for literary work
before accepting the book. Even if such a law existed in Saskatchewan, he said,
it likely wouldn't affect Mr. Thatcher.
"Why would it apply to someone who's not talking about the crime itself?" he
said. "He's been convicted. He's served his time. But he's not talking about her
being bludgeoned or anything. He's simply talking about what happened from the
point he got arrested on."
That argument hasn't swayed some victims' rights supporters.
"I don't believe he should make a penny on it no matter what it says," said
Marcheta Tanner, vice-president of the Manitoba Organization for Victim
Assistance. "He was tried and convicted of murdering the mother of his
Laws barring criminals from earning money for their stories first came into
fashion in the 1970s after several publishers reportedly offered lucrative book
deals to David Berkowitz, the "Son of Sam" killer.
A Canada-wide law aimed at denying offenders cash for giving accounts of
their crimes worked its way to the Senate in 1995, but later died.
Mr. Thatcher's former lawyer, Tony Merchant, says the former energy
minister's story is nothing like that of Mr. Berkowitz because the case against
his client was never airtight.
"It seems to be forgotten that, at the time, people were evenly divided on
his conviction," Mr. Merchant said. "People should be rethinking the reality of
Mr. Thatcher appealed several times before he was finally released to his
Moose Jaw ranch on parole.
During the 1984 trial - said to be the province's biggest since the 1885
trial of Louis Riel - the prosecution presented abundant damning evidence,
including a gas receipt found at the murder scene bearing a signature resembling
JoAnn Wilson was beaten in the garage of her Regina home before being shot in
Considering the gravity of the crime, Ms. Tanner said ECW should consider
"They should be thinking twice," she said. "I wouldn't want that dirt on my
WRITES AND WRONGS
The reading public has long maintained a macabre interest in the stories of
those who run afoul of the law. Here are a few of the best known.
In 2007, HarperCollins cancelled the release of If I Did It, in which
the former football star described his hypothetical murder of Nicole Brown
Simpson and Ronald Goldman. The book was eventually published, with most
proceeds going to the Goldman family.
She describes how she killed Herman Tarnower, the "Scarsdale Diet" doctor, in
Stranger in Two Worlds.
Mark David Chapman
John Lennon's killer received more than $8,000 for a magazine article. Under
the Son of Sam laws, authorities placed the payment in escrow.
With Rudy Wiebe, Ms. Johnson co-wrote Stolen Life: The Journey of a Cree
Woman about her conviction for the first-degree murder of Leonard Skwarok in
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
Canada is riddled by
corrupt judges who make political decisions - and Canada also suffers the
typical American simple minded "polarized views" that often reflect a
politically correct view point that makes "simple sense". Its also a view that
seeks retribution of jail sentences that exceed what is required to deter and
Anyone who is "convicted" should have the right to publish a book on why they
believe the conviction was improper.
It is simply too easy to say that criminals should not profit from their crime
but, such a rule should not be a thinly veiled method of censoring or forever
preventing them from speaking out their cry of innocence.
It is better that convicted criminals be able to profit from writing a book than
to place any deterrent or impediment against all convicted persons from
expressing their claim to innocence and injustice at trial.
Judges like the CORRUPT Allan Sheffield and Denis Power leave a trail of
destroyed lives by engaging in Politically Correct decision making that TOTALLY
ignores the principles of justice and even the most simple commonsense rules
The CORRUPT JUDGE ALLAN SHEFFIELD uses "Quadruple hearsay" on a 'summary
judgment' motion to record criminal convictions, "Without a Trial" !
Even the witches of Salem got a trial, Ontario Superior Court Judge Allan
Sheffield denies that basic right, to exact "revenge" for speaking out against
of all things, Corrupt Judges and thats something that you won't find too many
good judges or lawyers objecting to.
Canadians should not be fooled into supporting "politically correct" legislative
requests without very carefully considering "the Prejudice", its just too easy
for simple minded people who have no ability to reason logically to support
"right wing" ideas on justice, law and order.
Lets focus on the issue -
which is not Thatcher's guilt or innocence or the stupid question of "should
criminals profit from crime", that's like asking "when did you stop beating your
The issue is, should there be a prohibition on persons with convictions, on
writing a book?
Thatcher did NOT write about the alleged crime for which he was convicted.
Thatcher wrote about "Injustice" the evidence used or not used at trial.
A very large number of persons are convicted of offenses that they did not
commit. Convictions are made by judges, who are sometimes CORRUPT, like Ontario
Superior Court Judge, ALAN D. SHEFFIELD at 161 Elgin Street Ottawa, who leaves a
trail of destruction in family court where he issues criminal convictions on
"summary judgment" that means NO TRIAL, bizarre allegations , that have never
been cross examined are accepted by this CORRUPT JUDGE as "FACT" and then he
makes orders to PREVENT AN APPEAL.
Allan Sheffield and some of the other vilest members of society such as DENIS
POWER make draconian orders that deprive a child of any right to know their
father - for ever and to prevent the father from ever having recourse to the
courts of Ontario again.
These two judges engage in the criminal offenses of "obstruction of justice"
deliberately, they belong in jail for a very long time, they are more dangerous
to children then childhood sexual abusers.
Parental Alienation has long been documented as possibly more harmful than
childhood sexual abuse and yet, we have these two judges, the worst of the
worst, allowed to continue their Flagrant Abuse of Absolute Power even when the
entire legal community and their supervisory judges know exactly how low these
corrupt criminals will stoop.
If these two corrupt judges were in any other occupation, they would be
suspended almost instantly till the complaints were resolved.
Read the publisher's
preface - Notice how everyone rushes forth with politically correct anti-crime ,
anti-criminal posts? Not one has ever even looked at the book or given any
thought as to the pros and cons of legislation to prevent such books being
The far right conservatives increasingly are polarized on any issue, its like
walking into a religious sect packed with zealots demanding that everyone else
conform, its that pressure to conform that destroys legal or logical reasoning
which is what we supposedly have judges for, but
in Canada, our judiciary is riddled with political decision makers who have no
regard for fundamental most basic legal principles that have been around for
hundreds if not thousands of years.
Firstly, those seeking this legislation have another interest, to silence any
comment that the justice system screwed up.
Judges practice this in "res-adjudicata" that is once a decision is made, it
cannot be changed even and especially when later evidence shows the decision was
obtained by FRAUD.
Appeal courts like the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Superior Court of Ontario
make it a practice to refuse to listen to any such claim because it suggests
that a judge did not do his job, they are in fact, conspiring with each other
for each other like a gang of criminals engaged in code of silence.
That is exactly what you find at 161 Elgin Street Ottawa on the Fifth Floor,
These same judges use their power, or rather abuse their power to prevent any
criticism and gain revenge against anyone who might raise bring to the public's
attention, their criminal acts.
Legislators need to carefully consider the prejudice, the harmfull effects on
society of a virtual prohibition of writing books about injustice or wrongful
Prosecutors and police often vilify accused and that prevents fair trials and
encourages fabrication or omission of evidence.