Canada

Decision to acquit Truscott draws cheers

Moments after Steven Truscott was acquitted of murder on Tuesday, Canadians from across the country were applauding the news.

'Justice has been done today,' e-mail writer says

Moments after Steven Truscott was acquitted of murder on Tuesday, Canadians from across the country were applauding the news.

Steven Truscott smiles as he stands with his wife Marlene at a press conference in Toronto on Tuesday. ((Frank Gunn/Canadian Press))

Dozens wrote to CBCNews.ca to share their thoughts after the Ontario Court of Appealruled thatTruscott's convictionin the 1959 killing of his classmate was a miscarriage of justice.

"Steven's plight has consumed most of my life," H.J. Cudd wrote from Whitby, Ont. "It is an overwhelming relief for me as an onlooker and follower to witness the now senior Mr. Truscott's acquittal finally after almost 50 years.

"Justice has been done today and an innocent man and his family can begin to experience life as normal human beings and citizens of this country."

SeveralCBCNews.ca readersexplained they have beenfollowing the case since June 11, 1959, when Lynne Harper, 12,was found dead in a wooded area near Clinton, Ont, just two days after she and Truscott went for a bicycle ride.

Truscott, who was only 14 at the time, was sentenced to be hanged, making him Canada's youngest death-row inmate. His sentence was eventuallycommuted to life imprisonment, and he was paroled in 1969.

Truscott, who always maintained his innocence, had been fighting to clear his name since 1997. Many wrote to CBCNews.ca to praisethat fight, and his refusal to publicly lash out orexpress bitterness.

"I am in awe of the quiet dignityhe has shown throughout this unimaginable ordeal," Linda Pefanis of Montreal wrote. "I fully agree with this decision and applaud it. It's been long overdue. It horrified me to think how close he came to losing his life."

Calls for Truscott's full exoneration

Others said they lamented that court didn't takethe additional step of exonerating Truscott. In its written decision, the court stated that it is "not satisfied that the appellant has been able to demonstrate his factual innocence."

"Ontario has washed its hands of Steven with an acquittal," George Walsh of Victoria, B.C., wrote. "That is not an exoneration. The battle for justice is still not yet won."

"This issue remains a tragedy in Canadian history," added Yvonne MacDonell of Edmonton. "This poor man, Steven Truscott, has still not been exonerated for the murder of Lynne Harper. Is it justice to partially right a wrong?"

SomeCBCNews.ca readersdiscussed compensation, saying Ontario must pay Truscott for his ordeal.

Tom Kirkpatrick of Vancouver said Truscott should be honoured.

"What can we give Mr. Truscott to make up for his lost youth and so many years of his life?" Kirkpatrick wrote. "If there is one man deserving of the Order of Canada, it is Mr. Truscott. I am proud to call him a Canadian."

now