Posts Tagged ‘montreal history’

“Communist Jailed As Church Robber,” Montreal Gazette. October 18, 1938. Page 10. 

R. Lepage Gets Seven Years After Pleading Guilty to Over 20 Charges

Pleading guilty yesterday to more than 20 charges of theft from churches in Montreal and surrounding districts, Roland Lepage, 28, alias Fred Way, self-styled Communist, will serve the next seven years in St. Vincent de Paul penitentiary as the result of sentences imposed upon him in Police Court.

The accused objected to being charged with breaking and entering the churches, telling the court ‘that when the door is open and you walk in that is not breaking.’ The charges were amended to read plain theft and the accused pleaded guilty.

Lepage was given three five-year-terms by Judge Maurice Tetreau on three charges of theft, the three sentences to run concurrently. Brought before Judge Guerin, he was given two years on each of 21 charges of theft, the sentences to run concurrently but he will begin to serve these sentences only after he has completed the five-year term.

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“3 Insane Convicts Free; 5 Make Escape From City Jail; 2 Recaptured / Insane Prisoners Break Jail at Bordeaux.” Montreal Gazette, September 17, 1938. Second edition. Top image is page 15.  Next two are pages 1 & 9.

“Fugitives Overpower Guards – Are Believed Armed. / Police Cordon Drawn. / All Available Forces Join Search for Desperate Men in Woods.

Three dangerously insane convicts, all believed armed, were fugitives from a widespread police net last night after escaping from Montreal Jail at Bordeaux shortly after two o’clock yesterday afternoon.  Two others who were also confined to the jail asylum, escaped at the same time, but were captured shortly afterwards.

A jail guard’s car, which the convicts seized at the gun point outside the prison’s main gate, was found abandoned last night in the north end of the city.  Provincial, Montreal and Royal Canadian Mounted Police threw a strong cordon about the island as soon as the break became known, but it was believed possible that one or more of the men had slipped through before the guards were posted.

The men were believed to have two revolvers and a rifle among them, and all were described by prison officers as ‘desperate men who would stop at nothing to retain their freedom.’

Police search squads were armed with machine guns and tear gas equipment.

The five, all declared by Dr. Daniel Plouffe, superintendent of the prison hospital, to be insane, were:

JULES LEGACE, 32, 10 years for burglary and holdup;

JOHN O’MALLEY, 25, life for assault on penitentiary guard;

JOSEPH GAUCHEN, 23, five years for assault on penitentiary guard;

DIEUDONNE COALLIER, 25, 10 years for burglary;

LEO TREMBLAY, 25, sentence unascertained.

The first four were Montrealers, while Tremblay was brought here from Quebec CIty.

O’Malley and Coallier were captured within a few hours of the break.”

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“C’est là
que se sont réfugiés les fous criminels! / Du Nouveau Dans L’Affaire Des Fous Criminels,” Le Petit Journal. September 18, 1938. Pages 1 & 2.

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Cinq Fous Criminels S’Évadent


Bordeaux – Des Gardes Blessés.” La Patrie, Edition Quotidienne. September 17, 1938. Page 1 & Page 21.

“L’évasion la plus sensationnelle encore vue dans notre province s’est produite vendredi après-midi,

à 2 heures 30,

à la prison de Bordeaux alors que cinq détenus de la section des aliénés criminels ont pris la fuite.

Trois gardes de la prison ont été assommés par les évadés qui leur ont enlevé leur armes et quie so sont ensuite fait ouvrir la grande barrière de la prison en dirigeant une fusillade nourrie dans la direction  des gardiens qui avaient mission de les empêcher de passer.”


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“Cinq prisonniers s’évadent de Bordeaux – Ils désarment deux gardes, en assomment deux autres et fuient dans une voiture volée à un cinquième gardien.” Le Canada. September 17, 1938. Page 01.

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“Slayer Endures Awful Agony,” Kingston Daily Standard. August 5, 1912. Page 05.

Existed on Berries and Leaves For Weeks.

Clothes Were Torn in Ribbons – Charged With the Murder of His Wife in July Last.

Montreal, August 5. – Detective L. G. Lapointe, of the provincial bureau, has returned from Beauce County, where he arrested Alexander Wintle, accused of the murder of his wife Frances Wright.

The police declare that Wintle endured frightful sufferings in the woods around Beauce before he was arrested. When he disappeared it was thought he had suicided.

The crime for which Wintle is accused was committed on July 11, and it was not until last Wednesday, that Wintle was arrested.

On the day after the murder, Wintle’s clothes were found on the river bank, two miles from his home. Several days later, however, he presented himself at the house of a neighbour named Boucher. From that time he was not seen again until arrested by Detective Lapointe. When taken in charge the accused murderer appeared to have lost his reason through his sufferings.

He told the police that for three weeks he had lived in a forest nearly 100 miles square. For 17 days he struggled about, eating berries and green leaves. At night he slept wherever he happened to be .

When he was arrested his clothes were torn to ribbons and his feet were bare. He was nearly starved to death.

When arrested, Wintle threw himself to his knees and cried: ‘Do not kill me, sir. I wish to live.’

Detective Lapointe left the man in prison at St. Joseph de la Beauce when he will remain until after the inquest, on August 6, by Magistrate Angers.

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“Charge of Complicity In Breaking ‘Padlock’,” Ottawa Citizen. July 25, 1938. Page 03.

Two Men Who Tried to Wire Constables Inside Their Own Car Escape But Man Who Helped Them Charged With ‘Complicity After the Fact.’

Canadian Press.
QUEBEC, July 25. – F. X. Lessard, self-styled ‘only living Communist to break open a Duplessis padlock for Communists.’ remained in the cells today while friends considered means of raising bail of $1,200 set Saturday by Judge Hugues Fortier when the 40-yer-old carpenter appeared before him on a charge of ‘willfully breaking a provincial law.’

Behind bars also was Henri Beaulieu, the man police charged with ‘complicity after the fact’ in the escape of two men who tried to imprison guards in their automobile Friday while Lessard entered the home authorities padlocked two days before because of the carpenters alleged Communistic activities.

When police went to the six-room Lessard dwelling last Tuesday to advise the family the flat would be locked up for a year under the special law aimed at halting the spread of Communism, it was the authorities’ third visit to homes occupied by the carpenter. Twice before they had seized literature from Lessard’s dwellings.

Away at work when police told Mrs. Lessard the family would have to evacuate the premises ‘within 24 hours,’ the carpenter again was absent when two detectives arrived the following day to execute the withdrawal order. His blue-eyed, middle aged wife and two children were marched from their home singing the ‘Internationale’ and the ‘Young Guard’ after refusing to remove their furniture. 

Two policemen immediately were detailed to guard the abandoned flat, located in to the top of a tall building below steep St. Sauveur cliff.

Curious lookers-on frequently engaged the two guarding officers in casual conversation and the police saw nothing to arouse their suspicions when two men approached their parked car Friday ostensibly for a chat.

But the officers were startled suddenly to notice their ‘callers’ slyly were binding the car’s doors with strong wire and when the guards attempted to seize the men the pair fled – just as Lessard walked along the sidewalk, pulled open a street door, and ran up three flights of stairs to his former home.

Drawing revolvers, the policemen followed and on reaching the top of the stairs they found the ‘padlocks’ (official seals of Quebec province) had been smashed. Lessard, calmly walking about the kitchen, made no resistance to arrest.

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“Firemen Labor Under Difficulties,” Montreal Star. July 21, 1938. Page 03.

Ste. Genevieve volunteer firemen worked under difficulties last night when fire threatened the whole village after attacking two dwellings, a general store and several sheds and barns.

The upper picture shows a group of volunteers pouring water onto the smoking ruins.

In the lower picture Fire Chief Poirier and Fireman Brunet are attending to the makeshift pump. The Star photographer caught them as they stood knee-deep in water.

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“Guilty Plea Made On Hit-Run Charge,” Montreal Star. July 21, 1938. Page 03.

St. Martin Farm Worker Will Be Sentenced On July 29

Leo Bertrand, 25, of St. Martin, a farm employe, today pleaded guilty to a charge of having failed to stop after striking and injuring Mrs. Antonio Boucher, 30, of 50 Rue Champoux, L’Abbord a Plouffe, an expectant mother, with his automobile, on his appearance before Judge Langlois in the Arraignment Court.

The judge reserved sentence in the case until July 29 pending reports on the condition of the woman. The accused also pleaded guilty to another charge, that of driving without a driver’s license. He was fined $10 and costs, the usual fine in such cases.

Homicide squade officers, Sergeant Detectives Fitzpatrick and Laroche, who made the case against Bertrand, said that the accident occurred at 10.45 pm July 19, at Lachapelle and St. Leon streets.

He Drove Too Close
Accused was making a turn at that intersection, they said, and he drove too close to the curve, striking Mrs. Boucher. She was, they said, caught under the mudguard. Bertrand was alleged to have backed off her and to have driven away without stopping and investigating.

A witness, the son of a policeman in the Montreal force, whose name was not given, was said to have taken down the last three numbers of the licence plat of Bertrand’s car. The officers checked on this and found that these numbers were of the series issued to automobile owners of the L’Abord a Plouffe district.

Yesterday afternoon they went to a farm in L’Abbord a Plouffe where Bertrand was employed, they said, and arrested him.

Mrs. Boucher, whose condition was said not to be serious, spent a day at the Hotel Dieu, it was said, and she is now at home under doctor’s care.

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“Year’s Term Given In Relief Frauds,” Montreal Star. July 21, 1938. Page 04.

Judge Tells Prisoner His Case Is Worst He Ever Head Of

Charles Renaud, who obtained $1,771.99 from the Relief Commission under another man’s name, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment by Judge Langlois today.

‘Your case is the worst I have ever heard of,’ Judge Langlois remarked when Renaud appeared before him for sentence. His Honor pointed out that Renaid, using the name of Cyril Picard, had obtained over $1,700 from the Relief Commission in the past four years. ‘You were also guilty of impersonation and could be sentenced to a penitentiary term for that alone,’ the judge remarked, sentencing him to 12 months in jail.

Renaud gave his address as 3960 Rivard street.

Raymond Tessier, 43, who have his address as 1181 Union Avenue, apt. 8, pleaded not guilty to four fraud charges when arraigned before Judge Langlois. Trial was fixed for July 28. According to the complaint, Tessier obtained amounts ranging from $6 to $22 by cashing four allegedly worthless cheques made out to the order of ‘Prof. Raymond Tessier’ and bearing the signature, ‘Louis Mondon, Superior College, St. Jean.’ At the request of police His Honor remanded the accused to detective headquarters for three days.

Sentence was reserved by the court until Friday in the case of three boys giving the names and addresses of Marcel Laveillee, 17, 2190 Frontenac, Maurice Rainville, 18, 1854 Iberville, and Leopold Christin, 19, 2023 Frontenax street, who pleaded guilty to receiving stolen goods valued at $50.

Albert Robertson, who have his address as 359b Murray street, admitted before Judge Langlois today that he stole $249 from Mrs. Blanche Chevrier, 2585 Delisle street, on July 17 to buy a car. Sentence was reserved until September 16 by the court to give Robertson a chance to reimburse Mrs. Chevrier.

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“Receiver Jailed In Car Theft Case,” Montreal Star. July 21, 1938. Page 20.

Companion Who Had Ridden With Other Released By Court

Charles Larkin, 24, was sentenced to 10 months in prison for receiving a stolen automobile, while John Goodson, 23, who had ridden around with Larkin in the automobile, co-accused of the crime, was allowed his freedom when it was proved before the court that he was unaware of the fact that the machine had been stolen.

Detectives, testifying, said that the automobile was the property of Elmer Ferguson. Figures on the license plates had been changed in an ingenious manner and it was some time before the accused was caught, they said.

Mr. Ferguson’s licence plate’s numbers are 64-836. The court was filled with amazement when the plates were produced and the 6s on either end looked looked like perfect 8s.

The defence and Yvon Sabourin, Crown prosecutor, questioned Goodson before Judge Guerin, brought out the fact that he had fine credentials. He had been friends with Larkin for about 10 years and had often ridden around in cars with him.

‘There was nothing in this particular case to make me suspicious,’ Goodson said. ‘Larkin was a garage mechanic and told me he had got the car from a man who did not use it very much and did not mind Larkin driving it about.’

Mr. Sabourin told the court he believed that there was no case against the accused.

‘You have been lucky once,’ Judge Guerin said. ‘Don’t try that luck twice. Inquire before you enter a car from now on.’

‘I will,’ Goodson said.

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“City Items,” Montreal Daily Witness, July 12, 1871. Page 03.

Mary Ann Sullivan, a girl of only 10 years of age, who recently escaped from the Reformatory, was arrested yesterday by Constables Armor and Martel, and to-day was sent back to the Reformatory.

Escaped. – Yesterday a boy named Louis Vian, aged 15 years, was arrested by the detectives on suspicion of being concerned in the Gault outrage. The circumstantial evidence against him was very strong, and a handkerchief which belonged to Mr. Gault was also found in his possession. After his arrest, he was put in the cell along with other prisoners to await examination at the Police Court to-day. During the night, however, Master Louis Vian managed to effect his escape by, it is believed, crawling through the ventilator in the cell door. The aperture in question is less than nine inches square, and Vian must have been very dexterous in getting through and afterwards clearing off from the building without being noticed. Three or four persons previously arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the Gault outrage, were to-day shown to Mr. Gault, but the latter failed to recognize any of them, and they were sent to jail as vagrants.

Attempted Imposition By A Carter. – Until cabmen are peremptorily and severly dealt with, their daily tricks and impositions on the public will never be put down. Charles Lapointe, 21, carter, who resides in Craig street, was charged at the Recorder’s Coourt to-day with refusing hire. It appears that on Tuesday morning Mr. Treasurer Black came off the Quebec boat and prisoner was one of several cabmen who solicited hire. Mr. Black hired Lapointe, who on second thoughts wanted to know where he was going, and if to a fire, and finally, with an oath, refused to drive him. Chief Penton gave Lapointe anything but a good character, and His Honor said that this system of carters bullying people and levying black mail must be stopped; and every case proven would be severely punished. Lapointe was fined $8 or one month in jail.

Loafing Vagrants. – At present there seems to be an unusually large number of loafing vagrants about the city. Louis Deschamp, 35, alias Leon Richer, laborer, from St. Urbain street; Michel Dubois, 34, laborer, St. Dominique steet; Xavier Beauvais, 27, carter, carter, Papineau Road, and a disreputable woman named Adeline Lefebvre, 29, were arrested at 5 o’clock this morning by sub-Constables McCormicck and Depatie, who had watched the gang for some two hours previous, when they were in a field off Sherbrooke street. At the Recorder’s Court to-day, it was stated that the prisoners are strongly suspected of being concerned in some recent robberies, and His Honor committed them each for two months; also Joseph Dupont, 20, vagrant, from Campeau street, against whom the detectives are working up a case of burglary.

Sarah Alcock, 44, an old vagrant, Mary Ann Lanigan, 29, and Elizabeth Dunn, 29, both found loitering on Champs de Mars, were each committed for a month; also Mary Ann McDonnell, 45, and Ann Meaney, 23, who were found in a drunken disgraceful state on Logan’s Farm. His Honor said that a law would soon be in force, by which vagrants for second offence may be committed for two years.

Alphonese Labreque, 24, laborer, and who, the police stated, was the ‘fancy man’ of the keeper of a brothel, was arrested along with Joseph St. Jean, 27, stone-cutter, loitering with a prostitute, and they were each fined $2.50 or 15 days in jail.

POLICE COURT – WEDNESDAY. – A woman who was arrested on a charge of breaking a pane of glass in the door of E. Costello, was discharged for lack of evidence.

Edmund Fegan 62, a vagrant from Common street, was arrested for stealing coal on the wharf and was committed as a vagrant for two months,

Eliza O’Brien, wife of James Mourney, of Colborne Avenue, was charged with using insulting language to Catherine Mullins, wife of James Mourney, Jr., and was fined $10.75, including costs, or fifteen days in all.

Damase Piebe, shoemaker for assaulting Augustin Guibord, was fine $7 including costs or 15 days.

George Clarke, Fil, alias Williamson, alias Henderson, charged with stealing four billiard balls belonging to Mr. Chadwick, St. James street, was remanded for examination. The balls were found in his possession, but Clarke says he brought them with him from the United States early in June last.

RECORDER’S COURT – Wednesday – This morning the sheet contained fifty cases, and nearly one-third of those were persons arrested in connection with a house of ill-fame in St. Elizabeth street, where the police made a raid last night. With such a programme before the Court it was no wonder that the place was thronged by those peculiar and miscellaneous personages, the largest proportion of whom are of a vicious character, who watch the rise and fall of the criminal barometer with an interest that is whetted and increasing in proportion as the details are disgusting.

Frederic Lafontaine, 32, agent, or manager of the Toronto House and Edward Rheaume, 24, shoemaker, who got quarrelling and attempted to fight at the door of the above tavern, were each fined $2.50 or 15 days in jail.

Fabien Beaudouin, 22, carter, drunk in Notre Dame street; Daniel Murphy, 40, agent from Quebec, drunk in St. Paul street; François Ganthier, 48, blacksmith, drunk in Panet street; Michael MccGeary, 36, laborer, drunk, in Commissioner street; J. Bte. Deslauriers, 52, laborer, drunk in St Paul street; J. Bte. Braurmter, 58, laborer, drunk in Perthius street; Jos. Power, 19, laborer, drunk in Manufacturer street, and Daniel Gibson, 34, a respectably dressed man, drunk in Cahboulez Square Fire Station, also a woman, were each fined in small sums for being drunk; while Richard McDonnell, 27, baker, drunk in the city cars, was fine $2 or 15 days.

George McNeil, 32, shoemaker, and George McNulty, 55, laborer, both drunk in Lacroi street, and insulting people, were each fined $2.50 or 15 days.

Joseph Howie, 26, shoemaker, was fined $5 or 30 days, for loitering in Campean street with a prostitute, named Adeline Lefebvre, 39, who was committed for a month.

Thomas Cleary, 29, mechanic, residing in Dorchester street, got drunk last night, and was smashing the furniture and threatened to throw his wife out of the window. As the wife failed to appear, Cleary was let off with a fine of $2.50 or 15 days in jail.

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“Habitual Criminal Charge Asked,” Montreal Gazette. July 7, 1956. Page 03.

Boastful Convict Could Get Life Imprisonment

The Quebec Attorney General’s department has been asked to approve a charge of ‘habitual criminalism’ against 28-year-old Fernand Dube, cocky, talkative penitentiary escapee who was quoted yesterday as saying: ‘We won’t be in the pen a year from now.’

Dube and his two partners in the June 29 escape from St. Vincent de Paul Penitentiary – Gilles Hamel, 20, and Gaston Martel, 25 – were lodged in separate cells last night, under constant police guard, pending their court appearance on Monday or Tuesday.

The charge against Dube is getting special study because it is the man’s fifth break from the prison where he is serving a 16-year sentence.

PRovincial Police Det.-Capt. Leopold Troftier told The Gazette yesterday that the Montreal headquarters had submitted the request for a habitual criminal charge ‘because of this man’s record.’

For Life
Conviction on such a charge implies life improisonment under the wording ‘imprisonment for an indeterminate time at the leisure of Her Majesty.’

It was recalled that only one such conviction has been made in Quebec, and it was the first in Canada. This was eight years ago when Johnny Young, a narcotics racketeer, was found guilty of habitual criminalism. He is now in St. Vincent de Paul Penitentiary.

The charge was laid aainst Young immediately after his conviction and sentence of five years for handling $180,000 worth of heroin.

Two other men since then have faced charges of habitual criminalism in Quebec courts, but oth were acquitted of the charge although they were sentenced to five and 10 years’ imprisonment.

Both Dube and Hamel will face trial here on charges of escape and armed robbery at the Provincial Bank branch at Yamachiche, near Three Rivers, during their hectic six days of freedom. They were captured by Provincial Police officers Thursday near Quebec Bridge after police fired six shots to flush them from their hiding place in thick bushland.

Loot Found
Police recovered $18,584 of an estimated $21,000 stolen from the Yamachiche bank.

In Montreal detetcive office cells, under 24-hour police guard, is Martel, the last of the trio to be captured.

He will face charges of escape and armed robbery of the St. Jean Baptiste branch of the Caisse Populaire on Rachel St. East, where an estimated $4,000 was taken.

City police said $2716 of this sum has been recovered.

Hamel, the mildest and youngest of the three convicts, will also receive special police attention. He was reported to have first fallen afoul of the law as a 13-year-old when he was sent to reform school for two years for theft of $1 worth of merchandise from a Drummondville five-and-10-cent store.

Ran Away
After spending a year at the institution, he ran away but was returned to serve a five-year term there. He was re-arrested some six months ago on breaking and entering and theft charges.

He has never had aa chance from the very start,’ a veteran Provincial Police officer explained. ‘He is only 20 years old and has spent a little less than half his life so far in jail.’ 

Possible additional charges are being studied against Hamel. He was reported to be ‘co-operating with police on at least three cases of safecracking and breaking and entering in the Victoriaville area prior to his detention in prison six months ago.’

Held for questioning in Martel’s capture at Sherbrooke and Napoleon Sts. early yesterday are three women and two other men. Their names were withheld by police pending investigation.

Martel was sentenced last year to 10 years in prison on two convictions of robbing Caisse Populaire branches in Montreal.

Provincial Police found a .22 calibre rifle, sawed down to pistol size and blackened with shoe polish to resemble an automatic.

‘We found this following the arrest of Dube and Hamel,’ Provincial Police officers said. ‘It is a powerful single-shot weapon and highly-dangerous at close range.

Dube, described as the ringleader, was the most talkative of the three yesterday.

After describing the escape he was quoted as saying: ‘After fleeing to Ville St. Michel and getting our sawed-off gun, we split up after Martel failed to show up at the rendezvous.’

Martel was believed to have headed for Ottawa where he spent several days of freedom.

‘We stayed in a Montreal tourist room until Monday night and then left the island with a friend who supplied a car,’ Dube is reported to have told police officers.

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“M. Esdras Minville, étudiant aux H.E.C., avec le bérêt et la canne symbolique de la vie étudiante extra-académique du temps,” L’Action nationale, mai 1976. 

From a biography of Prof. M. E. Minville, student and later professor at the  École des hautes études commerciales de Montréal, technical adviser in the 30s to the Québec Ministry of Commerce and Industry, head of the Catholic scouts of Québec and later director of the HEC Montréal

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“Women’s Jail Here Shuts Doors, Refusing to Accept Prisoners,” Montreal Gazette. July 3, 1948. Page 03.

The Fullum Street Women’s Jail closed its doors last night, and, for perhaps the first time in its history, refused to accept prisoners.

The unprecendented move by both the Catholic and Protestant authorities of the institution came about when 10 female prisoners from the cells of the Montreal Police Department were refused transfer to the jail, quashing a custom practiced for many years.

Cessation of a contract with the Provincial Government and failure of new negotiations to materialize were the reasons unofficially cited as the cause of the ‘closed door’ reception.

The jail is divided into two sections. One is operated by sisters of a Catholic order, the other by Protestant organizations. Although the jail is a provincial jail, it is apparently operated through contracts which provide for salaries, overhead and other administration items.

Asst. Dir. J. A. Belanger, of the Montreal police department, said that the move came as a surprise to the department and that they were forced to re-accommodate the 10 prisoners in police cells.

The police official said that authorities of the jail had declared that their contract with the Provincial Government had expired and that they would not accept any more prisoners.

There were rumors last night that authorities of the jail had set July 1 as an ultimatum in new negotiations with the province and that failure of the government to meet the new commitments resulted in the action taken.

The closing of the jail presents a serious problem to local police departments which are neither accommodated nor authorized by law to hold prisoners in their own cells following either a jail sentence or in between court appearances.

Last night, the Prisoner’s Department of the city police transported 12 women to the women’s jail. Only two, who had been released from the institution to police custody for court appearance, were re-admitted The other 10 were refused entrance.

An official of the jail contaced by The Gazette last night said that the institution was not overcrowded. She admitted that there was ‘some mix-up’ but would say nothing as to whether the trouble stemmed from negotiations with the government.

Among the 10 prisoners rejected by the jail, one had been sentenced in court to two months in jail, according to Dir. Belanger. This prisoner was returned, to police cells, with the others. Although lodged in cells her sentence will not be purged, however, since time in police cells is not subtracted from the sentence.

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