"Until You Are Dead": Steven Truscott's Long Ride into History (Hardcover)

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“Talk to anyone you find, investigate wherever things lead you. I know I'm innocent and I’m not afraid of what you’ll turn up.” — Steven Truscott to Julian Sher

“Until You Are Dead” chronicles the loss of Canada’s innocence. Prior to June 11, 1959, Canadian parents could allow their children to play outdoors, unsupervised, in places children traditionally love: schoolyards, fields and nearby swimming holes. But on that hot summer day, when the body of a twelve-year-old girl turned up in a woody area near Clinton, Ontario, that innocence was shattered.

The girl’s name was Lynne Harper and she had been raped and murdered. The summer was barely over before a popular schoolboy named Steven Truscott, fourteen years old at the time, was tried, convicted and sentenced to hang. Truscott spent ten years in prison after the federal cabinet commuted his death sentence. He has always maintained his innocence.

His trial in 1959 was the most famous and controversial in Canadian history. As a producer at CBC TV’s the fifth estate, Julian Sher spent two years investigating the Steven Truscott story for an explosive documentary. When it aired in the spring of 2000, more than 1.4 million Canadians watched the program that sparked headlines across the country and questions in Parliament. Now, in this gripping and shocking account, Sher gives us the full story of that investigation, including new material not revealed on television. From the news that a young girl had gone missing in 1959 to the efforts four decades later by lawyers — those who assisted Guy Paul Morin and others — preparing an application to the federal justice minister for a verdict of wrongful conviction, this is a thorough and chilling examination of the case that rocked the country, and the man who continues to reside at its centre.

When Steven Truscott decided to come out of hiding and tell his story to the fifth estate, there were no deals, no commitments, no promises. If Sher and the fifth estate were to investigate one of Canada’s most controversial murder cases, they had to have unfettered access. Truscott readily agreed.

"Until You Are Dead”
reveals witnesses not called upon to testify; other, more likely suspects, including a known pedophile, never questioned; and important leads that were kept from the defence, the judge and jurors. Boxes of police files and military records hidden or buried in government vaults reveal astonishing and disturbing information about an investigation and trial the authorities always claimed was above reproach. All told, the book uncovers a wealth of information that could have lead to a different verdict and a very different life for the young boy who was nearly executed over forty years ago.

About the Author

Julian Sher worked with the CBC's flagship current affairs program the fifth estate for ten years, and was the producer of "His Word Against History," the documentary about Steven Truscott that won the Canadian Association of Journalists' Award for Best Investigative Story of the Year. That report was also part of a package of fifth estate exposes on the Canadian justice system that won the prestigious Michener Award for meritorious public service. He is now a freelance journalist, training reporters around the world to use the Internet as an investigative tool through his Web site, JournalismNet.com. His articles have appeared in The Globe and Mail, The Ottawa Citizen, La Presse and CNN.com. He is a past president of the Canadian Association of Journalists and the author of White Hoods: Canada's Ku Klux Klan. He lives in Montreal.

Praise For…

“Read this book. You will be jarred by the reality of our justice system. This excellent, in-depth compilation of Steven Truscott’s very disturbing case keeps you absorbed and in disbelief: Where is the justice?” — Guy Paul Morin

"Sher writes with a finely measured sense of disbelief. How could this happen? he asks through every page. And we share his amazement, notwithstanding David Milgaard, Donald Marshall, Guy Paul Morin and Thomas Sophonow, all convicted until proven innocent ... Sher has written an important book. One that ought to serve as a warning to those who administer justice against arrogance. Nor should anyone be complacent on the issue, for every time a case is closed with the wrongly accused, a killer is left free to roam among us. " — The Montreal Gazette, October 20, 2001

"The CBC television producer who earned Truscott's trust and helped make a national case of his continued claim of innocence, Montreal's Julian Sher, presents another compelling indictment of our justice system." — The Toronto Star, October 21, 2001

"There have been previous books on the trial of Steven Truscott, but 'Until You Are Dead' ... is the most comprehensive analysis to date." — The Globe and Mail

Product Details
ISBN: 9780676973808
Publisher: Knopf Canada
Publication Date: October 9th, 2001
Pages: 592