The fight to prevent cashing in on crime

Saskatchewan law unlikely to affect Colin Thatcher, whose book has stirred anger of victims' rights groups



From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

April 22, 2009 at 4:33 AM EDT

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.



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 children."

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 that conviction."

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 Mr. Thatcher's.

JoAnn Wilson was beaten in the garage of her Regina home before being shot in the head.

Considering the gravity of the crime, Ms. Tanner said ECW should consider halting publication.

"They should be thinking twice," she said. "I wouldn't want that dirt on my hands."



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.

O.J. Simpson

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.

Jean Harris

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.

Yvonne Johnson

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 1989.

Patrick White





Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre


Ottawa Mens, from Ottawa Home of the Corrupt Judge Allan Sheffield, Canada) wrote: 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 prevent crime.

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 regarding evidence.

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.




Ottawa Mens, from Ottawa Home of the Corrupt Judge Allan Sheffield, Canada) wrote: 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 wife"?

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.


Ottawa Mens, from Ottawa Home of the Corrupt Judge Allan Sheffield, Canada) wrote: 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 written.

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 convictions.

Prosecutors and police often vilify accused and that prevents fair trials and encourages fabrication or omission of evidence.