Popular spin blurs facts in Marshall case


Donald Marshall Jr. died this week at age 55.  That is too young to shuffle off this mortal coil in most cases.


The mainstream media (read trendy lefty) have tried to portray Marshall over the years as an icon and a rights activist.  He was nothing of the sort.


In 1971, when he was 17, Marshall and his partner in crime, Roy Ebsary, set out to commit a violent robbery of a man in a Sydney, NS park.  During the course of that crime, the intended victim Sandy Seale, was stabbed and died as a result. Marshall was charged in the case and convicted and sentenced to life in prison.  Which, I would argue, was emminently fair.  However, the politically correct got involved and because he was aboriginal and he didn’t actually wield the knife, (Ebsary did) he became an  icon and was painted as “wrongfully convicted.”  


He may have been wrongfully convicted of the specific charge, but that is legal hair-splitting.  Marshall deserved to be in jail for his participation in the crime that resulted in the death of Sandy Seale and that is the reality the hand-wringers simply won’t deal with.  


I suppose there is a legal argument here, but there is equally an argument that as a party to the offence of robbery, the murder that resulted made him as guilty as though he wielded the knife.  And in that case, he was not wrongfully convicted in the least.   And The Criminal Code of Canada supports that assertion.  Could that position be argued at bar? Certainly. 


But, that is a far cry from making Marshall the martyr of the justice system as the media has done.  


In point of fact, after he was released form prison and given a King’s ransom of taxpayer’s money as his reward for participating in a robbery and murder, he has been in and out of the justice system from everything from fishing out of season to assaulting his wife. 


Terrific, what a prince and a role model.


I don’t wish ill of anyone.  That Donald Marshall is dead prematurely I am sure is sad for his family and those who cared for him.  But it is not a momentous event for the country as portrayed.  Nor was he the aboriginal rights activist as he has been portrayed in the media.  He was a violent criminal who may have served a little more time in jail because he was charged with the wrong crime than he actually committed, even though that is arguable.  But that’s it.  That’s the length and breadth of his story. Or at least that should be the length and breadth of this story were it not for a politically correct and pliant media. 


Leo Knight


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  1. As retired Magistrate Les Bewley said in his column at the time, Donald Marshall lied to the detectives, lied to his lawyer, and basically lied his way into prison. Your arguement that he participated in a Robbery that resulted in a death resonates with those of common sense and used to be the law until the Supreme Court declared otherwise, basically striking down the ‘common intention’ provision. There is a list of offences in the Criminal Code that sets out that participation in any of them makes the participants guilty of First Degree Murder. Unfortunately, one offence the Liberals left out was Robbery. Perhaps the present government should be asked why?

  2. You seem to know very little of the later life of Donald Marshall, which is a shame. He was involved, quite purposefully, in treaty rights challenges and was instrumental in bringing those issues to the fore in Nova Scotia.

    What did you think of Roy Ebsary being given a sentence of one year for his role in the murder of Sandy Seale? Did you believe that to be fair?

    • Two wrongs don’t make a right and the failure of the system in giving the appropriate punishment to Ebsary is also a travesty.

      I don’t disagree with what you are saying. There is no doubt he did some good things. But, there is also no doubt he did some bad things. And, my point remains the same.

  3. Unfortunately I think you have your facts quite wrong. Neither the trial court, court of appeal or royal commission found that Donald Marshall and Roy Ebsary were friends, partners or acquaintances of any sort. I’m not actually sure where you are getting that from.

    Donald Marshall was a aboriginal teenager, Roy Ebsary was a white elderly veteran who was accompanied by a white unemployed man by the name of Jimmy MacNeil. Sandy Seale was a black teenager. The trial court determined that Donald stabbed Sandy. Later the court of appeal found that Ebsary stabbed Sandy and Donald because the two teenagers were trying to rob him. They overturned Donald’s conviction but stated that he was “the author of his own misfortune” i.e. it was his fault he was in jail for 11 years for a murder he did not commit.

    The Royal Commission, which did a thorough review and investigation into the matter found that there were huge mistakes and coverups made by the police, crown and defence. Many witnesses came forward and recanted statements they had given under coercian during the initial investigation. Certain members of the police force admitted to their shoddy job on the investigation. Roy Ebsary’s own daughter testified to seeing her father washing a blood stained knife the night of the murder (somethign she told the Crown and defence but they chose to ignore). They found that Sandy and Donald were acquaintances that met in the park one evening. The two individuals approached them and Sandy and Donald attempted to “bum” some change from them. Ebsary, who had previous convictions for knife related assualts and had a reputation for violence, stabbed Sandy in the stomach and Donald in the arm. He told police that Donald did it and the rest is history.

    I urge you to read the royal commission report, the trial decisions and the court of appeal decisions in the matter. You might be surprised. Donald Marshall Jr did alot to promote aboriginal rights in Nova Scotia, you may or may not agree with it. He was not perfect and he did have some problems. I would offer my opinion that being locked up for 11 years at 17 years of age would have a negative impact on a person’s health and psyche.

    Lastly I would just offer a couple more facts worth pondering. Donald Marshall was given a life sentence for murdering Sandy Seale. He was later found to have had nothing to do with the murder and there was no evidence that a robbery of any sort took place by anyone present that evening. Roy Ebsary was eventually convicted. He was only given a year for a murder. One year. Donald Marshall Jr. got $250,000 for his 11 year wrongful conviction; Milguard, another wrongfully convicted (white) man in Canada got $10 million.

    I know you probably have your frustrations with the liberal media, but please don’t let that blind you to actual facts.

  4. Typical right-wing rubbish. Instead of providing any logical arguments Leo you have deliberately distorted the facts to reinforce your sad, neo-fascist (possibly racist) views. Marshall and Seale were friends. Ebary a stranger. This has never been disputed… even by prosecutors. Anther thing… how is it that Ebary received a 1 year sentence for the killing… while Marshall was still in prison after 11 years? Interesting. But the moral here is… if you’re gonna come up with that crap… at least stick to the facts next time.

    • It is my belief that Marshall and Seal set out to rob Roy Ebsary.
      People don’t usually get stabbed for no reason. I believe Seale deserved to get stabbed,
      Marsall deserve to go to jail and Ebsary is a hero for standing up to scum who were out to roll him.


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