Linda Beland

The importance of Linda Beland in the Cumberland Murders

That's what happens when they don't pay up

That's what happens when they don't pay up

1998-11-05 – Ottawa Citizen – “That’s what happens when they don’t pay up”

“Gaudreault’s story summed up”

From – 2006-01-26 – From Stewart’s – Ontario Court of Appeal – decision

(Now Canadian Case-law)

[30]          Stewart added a number of additional grounds of appeal directed at obtaining an acquittal.  These included the alleged inadequate assistance of counsel at trial, an allegation linked to his assertion that a number of lawyers conspired with the police and the trial judge to frame him for these crimes.  He also sought to adduce as fresh evidence Linda Beland’s post-trial version of what occurred at her home on the night of the murders. The fresh evidence application is addressed along with these other issues as a fourteenth ground of appeal.

[31]          For the following reasons we allow the appeal and order a new trial.

14. Fresh evidence and other issues

[346]      In addition to those raised by amicus curiae and counsel for Mallory, Stewart raised numerous grounds of appeal.  Most were not argued orally, but were left to written argument.

[347]      In our view, the main grounds of appeal were presented by amicus curiae and, in view of the result, it is unnecessary to address each of Stewart’s additional thirteen grounds, which essentially relate to factual issues.  While these issues may be significant at a new trial, our role is not to retry the case.  Most of the grounds raised by Stewart, including the allegation of inadequate assistance of counsel, are not errors of a nature that would permit an appellate court to grant Stewart the remedy he seeks, namely an acquittal.  It is accordingly unnecessary for us to address those grounds. We will, however, address two issues raised by Stewart.

[348]      While Stewart argues that he was framed by a conspiracy of lawyers and other participants in this proceeding, we see no basis on the record before us to support that submission.

[349]      Stewart applies to admit fresh evidence that Linda Beland recanted certain parts of the testimony she gave at trial. At trial, Beland testified that she could not remember driving Gaudreault home on the night of the murders. In her fresh evidence, she says she now recalls that she did not drive him home.

[350]      In 1993, the police asked Beland, who was married to Stewart, whether she drove Gaudreault home on the night of the murders in January 1990.  In her first statement to the police, Beland said, “I never drove him home” and, further, that she could not remember ever being in a car with Gaudreault.  In subsequent statements to the police, Beland maintained simply that she could not remember driving Gaudreault home. At the 1994 preliminary inquiry, when asked whether she drove Gaudreault home, she replied: “no, not that I recall.”  At the Sauvé and Trudel trial, in response to the same question, Beland said, “I don’t think so, but I’m not 100% sure.”  At this trial, Beland testified again that she could not remember driving Gaudreault home.

[351]      On the application to admit Beland’s recantation as fresh evidence, Stewart relies on a sworn videotaped statement Beland gave to amicus curiae on March 3, 2005 and on her affidavit of July 6, 2005.  In that material, Beland explains that her earlier inability to remember whether she drove Gaudreault home arose from her lack of information about what was said to have occurred on the night of the murders.

[352]      The information that she now has about the night of the murders was given to her by Stewart in a taped conversation.  That conversation took place after Beland completed her evidence at the trial. It is a conversation the Crown characterizes as witness tampering. In that conversation, Stewart told Beland that Gaudreault testified that all four accused were in the Beland/Stewart home at the same time and that all four were “running like a little boy all happy … like a chicken with his head cut off”. In addition, Stewart reminded Beland that the murders occurred on a school night.

[353]      On the basis of this new information, which is in important ways at odds with the actual trial evidence, Beland now remembers that no such events occurred at her home. Therefore, she can now remember with certainty that she did not drive Gaudreault home on the night in question.

[354]      Indeed, Beland now says that she always remembered she did not drive Gaudreault home and that she testified that she could not remember at the suggestion of the police and the Crown.

[355]      Stewart argues that this fresh evidence is important because it directly contradicts Gaudreault on the important aspect of his testimony that Beland drove him home on the night of the murders.

[356]      As this court held in R. v. Baltovich (2004), 73 O.R. (3d) 481 at para. 162:  “The test for ordering an acquittal based on fresh evidence is high; the evidence must be ‘clearly decisive’ of innocence.  See R. v. Stolar, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 480.”  If accepted as true by the trier of fact, Beland’s fresh evidence would certainly support the appellants’ case.  However, taking into account the various versions Beland has given in the past and the other evidence that was adduced at trial, we are not persuaded that Beland’s new version is “clearly decisive” of innocence.  It follows that in the circumstances of this appeal, admitting the fresh evidence would result in a new trial, not an acquittal.  As we are of the view that a new trial is necessary based on other grounds of appeal, we do not need to decide the application to admit the fresh evidence.


Robert Stewart’s Notes:

Linda Beland was my wife at the time of the murder. Four months after my arrest she meets an auxiliary OPP officer Colin Burrill who lives with her for over 8 years when she testify at my trial 1999-04-15 they had just broken up four months before.

I was arrested I showed her Denis Gaudreault statement “Linda drove me home” She said at the time “I never drove him anywhere.’ I sent her to my lawyer at the time Mike Edelson who said that because she my wife the Crown wouldn’t believe her so he never interviewed her about the murders. I stopped talking to her about the case because she was living with the OPP.

Linda had over 100 police contacts about this case and 10 formal statements some lasting a day.      Linda Beland 10 police statements and more

Below is Linda Beland’s 2005-03-03 “Sworn Video Statement” -Taken after all these police contacts and testifying twice. Once for the defence and once for the crown at the Stewart trial.

2005-03-03 – Linda Beland’s Sworn Video Statement

2005-03-03 Linda Beland transcript sworn video statement

2006-05-29 – Cross-examination of Linda Beland on her Sworn Video Statement.

2006-05-29 Deposition of Linda Beland

Another wrongful conviction Linda Beland was the main witness for the Crown.

Dimitre Dinitrov – (wrongly convicted)

News Papers

1999-11-24 Linda Beland other murder

Lawyers letters

Crown trying to stop evidence from becoming "Pubic"


2004-07-19 Lou Strozos transcipt of Beland’s missing tape

The Audio tape  Audio

2004-11-14 Letter from Crowns office


2006-10-02 Linda Beland fresh evidence

Jamie Declare came foreword to back Gaudreault’s story after he was hypnotized by  Dr. George Matheson.

Dr. Matheson was convicted of sexual assault of two patients; using hypnotics.

1997-03-26 Dr. George Clifford Matheson sentencing