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.
About the author
Robert Sharpe was formerly a professor at the Faculty of Law, University of toronto, where he wrote and taught in the areas of constitutional law, remedies, civil procedure, and criminal law. From 1990 to 1995 he served as Dean of the Faculty. He has appeared as counsel in a number of Charter cases in courts at all levels, including the Supreme Court of Canada. From 1988 to 1990, he served as the Supreme Court's Executive Legal Officer. Robert Sharpe was elwcted a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1991. He was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division) in 1995 and was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1999. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1991, awarded the Ontario Bar Association Distinguished Service Award in 2005, elected a Senior Fellow of Massey College in 2006, and received the Mundell Medal for Distinguished Contribution to Law and Letters in 2008. Justice Sharpe has published many scholarly articles and is the author of several award-winning books on law and legal history.