location: publications / books / Justice Behind the Walls / Sector 2 / Chapter 4 The Life and Death of the Electric Man / The Defences Case

Mr. Tremblay was asked by Defence counsel whether he knew if Mr. Allen was armed at the time he spoke to him in the courtyard. Mr. Tremblay testified that Mr. Allen had showed him a small butter knife, taken from the staff dining room, which had been sharpened and mounted in a handle. Mr. Tremblay recounted his efforts to dissuade Mr. Allen from doing this: "We have other enemies to deal with who are young, strong and healthy." In the course of this discussion, Dale Curran came over and told Mr. Tremblay that he should let Mr. Allen deal with this in his own way. Since it was now clear that Mr. Allen would not back away, it was suggested that "to do the job" he would need a bigger knife than the one he had. Mr. Tremblay testified that at this point he asked Ralph Moore, who had joined the conversation, to go get "the chopper." The chopper was a twelve-inch blade from a heavy-duty paper cutter, sharpened and stashed in the prison grounds. Mr. Allen then handed over the small knife he had, and Mr. Tremblay and Mr. Moore went into C unit. While they were there, the confrontation between Mr. Allen and Mr. MacDonald took place. The doors to the courtyard were locked, and Mr. Tremblay was trapped inside and did not see the fight.

Mr. Tremblay was asked for his reaction when he found out that Mr. Allen had been stabbed and was on his way to hospital.

I was shocked. No one could convince me that that guy could kill Gary Allen. Gary Allen was a good fighter, he always trained and he was good with his legs and he was very strong. I didn't believe that a fifty-two-year-old guy with a pot [belly] could do that. But for me and most of the guys I know, even with two or three shanks, we couldn't win a fight with Gary Allen. I was also disappointed. I hoped he would win. He was my friend.

Under cross-examination Mr. Tremblay was taken through his long record, and Mr. Crown counsel made much of the fact that his record included three charges of conspiracy to commit various crimes. The Mr. Crown's theory was that, just as Mr. Tremblay had conspired with others to commit criminal offences, so had he conspired with the prisoners who were testifying to concoct a common story in order to help Mr. MacDonald. Mr. Tremblay's response revealed the enormous gulf between the reality of a Crown counsel and that of Jean-Louis Tremblay.

Q: This conspiracy, what was that a conspiracy to do?

A: To rob banks. I have robbed banks since I was fourteen. That's what I do. I rob banks. I have conspirated all my life. I have planned to do crime all of my life.

Q: You mean that's your job?

A: Yes, that's my job.

As to the specific suggestion that he was in court to do Mr. MacDonald a favour, in the expectation of receiving a favour in return, Mr. Tremblay responded:

I don't need any favours from that guy. I spend my whole life in jail. I have been in the toughest and most dangerous penitentiaries in the country. I have seen all that there is to see. I do not need to do this to get favours. I have my own club. I have my own people. I have nothing to prove to no one. To come here and lie to help Hughie MacDonald will not help me. No one is going to say Mr. Tremblay came to court and lied and that he's a good guy. It would do nothing to increase my reputation as a tough guy. I don't need to be here. I hate courts. If I had my way this morning I would be in Kent smoking a spliff and taking it easy. I would not be here.

Mr. Tremblay also threw off the suggestion that he had an interest in helping Mr. MacDonald. "That man killed my friend. That day he was supposed to die." Crown counsel also put to Mr. Tremblay the standard suggestion that if Mr. Allen had survived and Mr. MacDonald had died, Mr. Tremblay would not have come to court to testify. His response was immediate:

If Gary Allen were here I would not have to give evidence. He would say to the judge, "Your Honour I killed MacDonald. I did it in front of everybody. Give me the life sentence. I don't care."

Jean-Louis Tremblay's testimony vividly described what life is reduced to in a maximum security penitentiary in the 1990s.

I have to survive in jail. Every day you wake up you don't know whether you will go to sleep that night. All my life is to survive.

Ralph Moore followed Jean-Louis Tremblay on the witness stand. Mr. Moore also wore the black colours of "Murder Incorporated," but he was a little more discreet: the logo was on the back of his T-shirt. His evidence broadly followed the contours of Mr. Tremblay's, although he made a particular point of emphasizing the nature of his activities as representing "his people." Shawn Preddy, in the course of his evidence, had said that Kent was a "cliquey kind of place." Mr. Moore began his evidence by making it clear that his clique was among the most powerful in terms of influence in the institution. Mr. Moore also made it clear that he had regarded Gary Allen as a friend and that he and his people stood behind Mr. Allen. He described how he had learned through the committee that Mr. Allen intended to kill Hughie MacDonald and had made arrangements for a knife to be ready for Mr. Allen when he was released to the population. Like Mr. Tremblay, he was surprised when Mr. Allen was released so early. He met with Mr. Allen in the courtyard that morning, trying to persuade him to take his revenge against Mr. Macdonald in a place secluded from official view. While they were talking, Mr. Moore saw Mr. MacDonald leave the dining room and go into D unit. Mr. Moore told Mr. Allen that he should go into D unit and deal with Mr. MacDonald there. But Mr. Allen wanted to get more heroin first. While they were talking Dale Curran came over with a chain wrapped around his neck and under his parka and offered it to Mr. Allen. Mr. Allen declined and showed the group the knife he had. They all agreed it was not big enough for the job at hand. Mr. Tremblay told Mr. Moore to go and get the big blade, and the small knife was passed to Mr. Curran, who placed it in his pants. Mr. Moore said that he again suggested to Mr. Allen that, if he was committed to this course of action, he should do it in D unit. Mr. Allen remained adamant that he was going to do it in the courtyard, and Mr. Curran at this point told the others to back off. Mr. Moore then went back into C unit, got the heroin and put it in a condom. He retrieved the big blade and put his weight belt on. As he was preparing to go back into the courtyard the doors started to close and he, like Mr. Tremblay, missed the "play."

Page 7 of 10