THE ADVOCATE 681
VOL. 77 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2019
rebuffed by John and Dorothy Buchanan, the publishers of the Advertiser,
with this succinct and effective response:
We will no longer refrain from publishing the names of people who
appear in Police Court. If you want your name to stay out of “Police Court
News,” stay out of Police Court.
This admonition had more of a deterrent effect on illegal and antisocial
behaviour than any law passed by any government or any sentence
imposed by any judge. It speaks volumes about what works and what does
not work in our criminal justice system.
Father Jim Fagan recalled another minor infraction:
I don’t remember serious problems with the law in Ocean Falls. I remember
one case where a painter in the mill was charged with stealing paintbrushes
and other painting stuff. He was bringing the paintbrushes from
the mill, across the bridge to his suite in the hotel. He was charged with
theft of Company property. He hired a lawyer from Prince Rupert. The
lawyer argued that he had not stolen anything from the Company
because the Company owned both the mill and the hotel suite. The painting
stuff had not been removed from Company property. He got off. I
guess that was a defence that would have been unique to a company town
like Ocean Falls.
The father of my classmate, Denise Woods, became a magistrate in
Ocean Falls. I never understood why he got the job. He was an electrician
at the mill. He was a distinguished English chap who had a good war record
and a well-groomed moustache. He always seemed to be the one to carry
the Union Jack in the Remembrance Day parades. Some say similar criteria
are still used to select Provincial Court judges.
One of the more notorious cases in the “Police Court News” involved a
sting operation. It had become the practice of some of the office personnel
in the mill to drive to their homes in Martin Valley for lunch. In doing so
they raced down the boardwalk known as Marine Drive after the noon whistle
blew, frequently without stopping at the only stop sign in town. This
serious disregard for the law had to be nipped in the bud. At the request of
management, the local RCMP hid in the bushes near the stop sign adjacent
to the townsite shops and nabbed the perpetrators. They were charged
under section 177 of the Motor Vehicle Act with failing to stop at a stop sign.
Steven Frew pled guilty. Ernie Troubridge, Donald George, David Lipert,
George Stanier, Allan Spencer and Carl Steiger pled not guilty. In the only
mass trial in Ocean Falls’ history, all except Steiger were found guilty. The
case against Steiger was dismissed because the constable spelled his name
wrong on the ticket. The guilty were each fined $5 plus the costs of court.
They lived with this blemish on their otherwise impeccable records for the
rest of their lives.