Sunday, 25 January 2009

Moody and Florence Reed

On November 14, 1890, the defence applied for postponement of Slumach's trial until the next assizes on grounds of the absence of "Moody, an Indian" and Florence Reed, two "necessary and material witnesses."

The judge did not object, but the governor of the jail, William Moresby, who had led a fruitless hunt for Slumach at Stave Lake, was not agreeable and promised that he could produce the missing witnesses.

The two witnesses were present when the trial resumed the following day, but they were not called to the stand. Why not? Nothing they said could have saved Slumach from the gallows. Canadian Law dictated that death by hanging was the punishment for all murders, even if the murder was in self defence.

What was behind this "absence" of the witnesses? By rescheduling the trial to the spring assizes, the defence hoped to avoid an undignified death at the gallows. The expectation was that the elderly Slumach would die in prison “from natural causes” before the spring.

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