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Unit 2: Criminal Law

CHAPTER 8: TRIAL PROCEDURES

E-ACTIVITY: THE STEVEN TRUSCOTT CASE (p. 226)

Activity: Conduct a Mock Interview with a Steven Truscott Expert

In 1959, teenager Steven Truscott was convicted of the murder of 12-year-old Lynn Harper. In 2001, with the help of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted, he applied under section 690 of the Criminal Code, asking for a review of the case.

What made this one of the most notorious cases in Canadian legal history? What happened in the case? Did he really do it? Or was he an innocent person in the wrong place at the wrong time? What is the status of the review of the case?

For this activity, you will assume the role of either a noted Steven Truscott expert or a news correspondent who has clinched an interview with this expert. First you must do your homework—find out about the case and the application process—and then you will write and conduct the interview with a partner.

  1. Begin your preparation for your interview by finding out about the decades-old case. Visit the Web site of the fifth estate, an investigative news show that produced a documentary profiling the case of Steven Truscott and called into question the verdict that had been rendered. The Web site provides information in the form of the complete transcript of the documentary, commentary on various pieces of evidence and witness testimony, a letter from Truscott, access to a discussion group, and a poem by Pierre Burton. Briefly summarize the facts of the case and detail some of the factors that have been called into question.

  2. To find out about the review Truscott is requesting, visit the Web site of Justice Canada and consider its news release about the 690 application process. Answer the following questions:

    • What is a section 690 review?
    • Who has been appointed the justice in Truscott’s 690 application process?
    • What are the responsibilities of the justice in this review?

  3. To find out more about Truscott’s 690 application, read the introduction to the application, which was made by the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted. Click on “Steven Truscott Court Case” to download a PDF file of the application. Prepare a brief history of the facts of the case and consider why a 690 application was brought under the Criminal Code.

  4. With a partner, brainstorm a list of questions that would make an interesting interview and that you can answer based on your research findings. Conduct additional research if necessary. Then compose a script of questions and answers for an official interview. Don’t forget opening and closing remarks. Present your interview live in front of the class or record it on videotape or audiotape for submission to your teacher.

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