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