The Lazier Murder: Prince Edward County, 1884

The Lazier Murder: Prince Edward County, 1884

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By Robert J. Sharpe
Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2011
World Rights
192 Pages 16 Images
ISBN 9781442615267
Published Oct 2012
Online discount: 15%
 $26.95    $22.91
ISBN 9781442644212
Published Sep 2011
Online discount: 25%
 $54.00    $40.50
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442693449
Published Oct 2012
Online discount: 26%
Full purchase $26.95

In December 1883, Peter Lazier was shot in the heart during a bungled robbery at a Prince Edward County farmhouse. Three local men, pleading innocence from start to finish, were arrested and charged with his murder. Two of them — Joseph Thomset and David Lowder — were sentenced to death by a jury of local citizens the following May. Nevertheless, appalled community members believed at least one of them to be innocent — even pleading with prime minister John A. Macdonald to spare them from the gallows.

The Lazier Murder explores a community's response to a crime, as well as the realization that it may have contributed to a miscarriage of justice. Robert J. Sharpe reconstructs and contextualizes the case using archival and contemporary newspaper accounts. The Lazier Murder provides an insightful look at the changing pattern of criminal justice in nineteenth-century Canada, and the enduring problem of wrongful convictions.

Robert J. Sharpe is a judge on the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

Chapter 1 Introduction

Chapter 2 The Crime

Chapter 3 Hugh McKinnon: Detective

Chapter 4 A Place Apart

Chapter 5 Coroner's Inquest 

Chapter 6   Committal Proceedings 

Chapter 7 Picton Spring Assizes, 1884

Chapter 8 Surprise Evidence 

Chapter 9 The Defence

Chapter 10 Verdict

Chapter 11 Last Hope

Chapter 12 Pleas for Mercy

Chapter 13 The Day of Execution Approaches 

Chapter 14 Community Conscience 

‘A fascinating tale, The Lazier Murder provides an enjoyable, accessible account of an 1883 murder trial in Prince Edward County, Ontario. This valuable book explores a period of transition in the criminal justice system, when older ideas emphasizing localized justice were increasingly seen to be at odds with efforts to create a more professional, rational, and consistent structure. Robert J. Sharpe’s careful, nuanced reconstruction of the case sheds considerable light on late nineteenth-century criminal procedure.’

Blake Brown, Department of History, Saint Mary’s University

Fred Landon Award awarded by Ontario Historical Association (Canada) - Winner in 2013