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Macdonald to launch his 16th book

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NEW GLASGOW — A second edition of Clyde Macdonald’s book, Nova Scotians In and Out of Court, has been published and will be officially introduced on August 10.

The launching is from 2 to 4 p.m.at the New Glasgow Library and will include light refreshment.

Proceeds from the book sales are directed to the Pictou County Roots Society, which is hosting the event.

“The book contains 200 pages and 89 photos, 13 of which are in colour,” he said. “I personally enjoy a book with lots of photos as photos tend to capture the reality of a true story.”

It is the 16th book written by Macdonald, a retired lawyer and judge who has also become, in his words, “a history enthusiast.”

“The notable New Glasgow historian James M. Cameron has written 15 books and with the help of the Pictou County Roots Society, we have surpassed that mark,” he said.

Macdonald starts his book with a chapter on life along the east branch of the East River, a partial salute to Sunny Brae where he grew up. Parallel chapters feature N. W. Mason, managing director and majority owner of the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow.

Another chapter outlines how the late Dr. Carrie Best was removed from the theatre on December 29, 1941 for sitting in the so called “white section” of the theatre. Best sued the Roseland Theatre Company, as well as Mason, for $5,504. The case was decided on May 14, 1942 before A Supreme Court judge and jury in Pictou.

There is also the usual assortment of court cases Macdonald enjoys sharing.

One has special meaning for Macdonald and prompted him to research and write about a similar miscarriage of justice.

“Glen Assoun of Halifax was recently exonerated in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court of Halifax for a murder he didn’t commit after almost 17 years in prison,” Macdonald noted. “Assoun’s lawyer, Sean Macdonald, claimed that the former federal Minister of Justice, Mrs. Jody Wilson-Raybould, sat for a year and a half on the recommendation to order a new trial for Assoun. After she was replaced by David Lametti as minister of Justice, he ordered a new trial for Assoun after just a month and a half in office.”

Macdonald’s chapter is about a murder case involving a 17-year-old accused boy, Lyman Darrt from Green Oak, Col. Co., and how quickly the federal justice minister at the time reacted to petitions for a new trial or commuting the sentence to life imprisonment.

“The new trial took place in Nova Scotia Supreme Court with a judge and jury at Truro,” Macdonald wrote. “Dartt was found guilty of murder on December 10, 1897 and was to be hanged on March 8, 1898. On the same day of the sentencing, new evidence came forward and during the ensuing days, 5,000 individuals signed a petition to have the federal minister of justice order a new trial.”

Numerous downtown new Glasgow businessmen and 14 practising lawyers from Truro were among those who signed.