Volume 95, Issue 26

Thursday, October 18, 2001
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Protest chaos headed for London?

The world at war

Drag queens tuck, strut with pride

Flaming tires plague LTC buses

Sher talks Truscott travesty

Gay clubs on campus to represent

News Briefs

Sher talks Truscott travesty

By Tola Afolabi
Gazette Staff

Author and journalist Julian Sher stopped by campus yesterday to discuss the investigative merits of the Internet and his book "Until You are Dead."

"We thought that we had to get him to come and talk to our students," said Wendy Crouch, member of the faculty of information and media studies.

Crouch explained that Sher, an internationally renowned journalist, specializes in computer assisted reporting (CAR), "which is a very big thing for journalists."

"Until You are Dead" chronicles Sher's investigation of the 1959 trial of Steven Truscott, who was sentenced to hang for the rape and murder of a young girl, but was later released after new evidence overturned his conviction.

In his book, Sher discusses the evidence that was not presented in the trial of the then 14-year-old Ontario boy. "The book ended up being the trial that was never heard. That's the most amazing aspect of the story," Sher said.

He cited the legislation of the past as integral to the miscarriage of justice. "By law in 1959, they were under no legal obligation to disclose information," he said, explaining such a law did not come into effect until 1992.

"The crown was actually very close to breaking the law," Sher added. He explained a scientifically unsound pathologist and the exclusion of major witnesses were instrumental in Truscott's shady conviction.

Despite CAR, investigating the case was, at times, a daunting task, Sher said, citing one fellow investigator's tedious task. "At one time, she phoned 2,000 people with the same name, trying to find a certain witness."

Some witnesses were contacted after using chat rooms on the Internet to track them down. "We joined the chat room and contacted the kids," Sher said.

Many of them provided home video and quotations for the book, he added.

Journalism student Eliza Walsh said she had read about the Truscott case and valued the opportunity to hear Sher speak. "As a journalist in training, I find the most information I can get is from seeing these visitors on campus," she said.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001