138 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 1 JANUARY 2020
and entering the vessel Idleours. He kept this up for four hours and said
that they had a witness to prove that I was the one who did it. When I
tried to ask who was the person that had seen me do it, they told me that
I didn’t have to know until court day.
I was only 16 years old then. I did not know about going to court or
what it was all about.
They even told me that I was going to get off easy if I confessed. Thinking
only of that, I finally told them that I did it because I wanted them to
leave me alone.
They told me that I was to return the money to them, and they asked
me where it was. I told them that I did not remember where I hid the
money. I didn’t because I didn’t take any money or commit the crime.
They said that I was supposed to look for it the next morning.
I remember my mother telling my sister to go and borrow the money
I was supposed to have taken from my aunt next door.
When they came up the next day they told me that I was to appear in
court on June 23, 1964. They went to Ocean Falls to pick up the magistrate
and came back the next day.
When I appeared before the magistrate, he wanted to question me first
before we even started with the court. He questioned me if I had ever
been in trouble with the law before, and I answered him that I never was
in any kind of trouble before.
The magistrate told me that I was elevated from juvenile court to adult
court, and then he sentenced me to eight months’ definite and if I did not
behave myself or if I got into any kind of trouble that I was to stay in for
another eight months’ indefinite.
None of my family was even allowed to be there with me aboard the
Tofino all this time as this was going on. Before we left for Ocean Falls was
the only time I got to see my mother and my aunt for only a few minutes.
When we left I was really scared and I was crying inside.
The next day they flew me out of Ocean Falls to spend ten days in
Oakalla prison. It was pure hell and very scary also. Then they shipped
me out to a forest camp in Chilliwack. I was in for three months when
one of the other inmates asked me why I was in. I remember after people
discussed my case they said it wasn’t fair and Father Fagan told me that
he was going to see if he could talk to a lawyer and appeal my case.
A few days after the lawyer came and I told him my story, I found out
that I won my appeal.
Even today I still think about what happened to me 26 years ago. I have
these scars which have been burning in my mind. I don’t know if the
other people are still around, but deep down in my heart I will always
If you see Mr. Gargrave again could you get him to write me a letter so
I can either write or phone him to thank him?
And I was very happy for the story I read in the magazine you sent to
These days many persons are wont to complain about the complexities of
the Young Offenders Act, judges who are “soft on criminals” and the squandering
of public money to give legal aid lawyers to criminals. The stories told by
Gerald Wilson and Tony Gargrave hold lessons and reminders for us all.