Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Steven Murray Truscott is a Canadian man who was convicted of murder in 1959. Since his release on parole in 1969, he has maintained that he was wrongfully convicted, and has recently campaigned to have his name cleared.
Although no Canadian court has overturned Truscott's conviction, the Canadian government has made some moves to review the case.
On June 9, 1959, 12-year-old Lynne Harper disappeared from the air force base at Vanastra, Ontario (not Clinton, Ontario as some may be lead to believe). Two days later, her body was discovered on a nearby farm.
Truscott, then 14 and a classmate of Harper's, gave her a ride on his bicycle shortly before she was reported missing. Truscott stated that he had seen Harper get into a car as he was riding away after dropping her off, but on June 12, Truscott was charged with Harper's murder.
In 1966, journalist Isabel LeBourdais published a book about the Truscott case, championing his innocence of the crime. The Supreme Court of Canada held hearings to review the case, and upheld the original verdict.
On October 21, 1969, Truscott was released on parole and began living under an assumed name in Guelph, Ontario. He maintained a low profile until 2000, when an interview on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's the fifth estate revived interest in his case. The fifth estate segment and a subsequent book both suggested that significant evidence in favour of Truscott's innocence had been ignored in the original trial.
On November 28, 2001, lawyers for the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted lead by James Lockyer filed an appeal to have the case reopened. On January 24, 2002, retired Quebec Justice Fred Kaufman was appointed by the government to review the case.
The plot of Ann-Marie MacDonald's 2003 novel The Way the Crow Flies is based on a fictionalized version of the Truscott case, and the surrounding community's reaction to the incident. (MacDonald herself was raised in the same region, during the same time period as the Truscott case.)
Several Canadians previously convicted of murder have had their convictions overturned after having had their cases reviewed due to similar claims of wrongful conviction. See also:
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