by Martin Friedland, Emeritus Professor Law, University of Toronto. Published with the University of Toronto Press. 1986.
Since its inception, the Osgoode Society has been anxious to publish scholarly studies of significant Canadian trials. In popular literature this genre, presented in the form of courtroom confrontations, appeals to the imagination and reaches a wide audience. A more serious presentation need lose nothing of this sense of drama, and it offers as well the opportunity to explain and analyse important legal issues in an often compelling fashion.Professor Martin L. Friedland, one of Canada’s leading legal scholars and a member of the Osgoode Society’s Board of Directors, achieves this objective and much more in his study of the case of Valentine Shortis. The Shortis affair impacted negatively on the dying federal Conservative government of the 1890s and was a landmark, equalled only by the Riel trial of the 1880’s, in the evolution of the insanity defence in Canadian murder trials. Professor Friedland’s study vividly brings the case back to life and demonstrates many of the vagaries of the trial and appeal processes and of the Canadian correctional system.