MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Convicted wife killer Colin Thatcher says he doesn’t think a new Saskatchewan law meant to stop criminals from keeping the money if they sell their crime stories applies to his new book.
The Saskatchewan government rushed through legislation in May that prohibits profiting from recounting crimes.
The law was prompted by the public debate that erupted after word that Thatcher’s book “Final Appeal: Anatomy of a Frame” would hit store shelves this fall.
Thatcher says his book is different because it doesn’t talk about the 1983 murder of his ex-wife, JoAnn Wilson.
“The legislation pertains to the recounting and recollections of a crime and this book does not contain any recollections or recounting of a crime either directly or indirectly,” Thatcher told The Canadian Press in an interview.
“This is not a Son of Sam book, there is no recounting, there is no story of recollections of a crime.”
It was 1984 when Thatcher, the son of a former Saskatchewan premier, was convicted of first-degree murder in Wilson’s brutal death. She was bludgeoned and shot in the garage of her Regina home, just steps away from the Saskatchewan legislature.
The former Saskatchewan cabinet minister spent 22 years behind bars.
The book re-examines witness testimony, talks about Thatcher’s whereabouts when the murder took place and delves into the authenticity of a credit-card receipt that was found near the murder scene with Thatcher’s signature on it.
“The book doesn’t even start until after I’m arrested, which is 15 months after the murder,” he said.
“What the book is, is it’s a story of what amounts to a 20-year odyssey through the system, through the various aspects of the justice system.”
Critics say the 380-page book lacks credibility.
Regina lawyer Garrett Wilson, who wrote his own book on the Thatcher trial called “Deny, Deny, Deny,” has called Thatcher’s allegations “frivolous and non-sense and hardly new.”
Saskatchewan Justice Minister Don Morgan says the process of seizing the profits from Thatcher’s book has already begun.
Both Thatcher and his publisher are aware of the province’s intentions, he said.
Morgan acknowledged this week that provincial officials have not yet read the book, but he believes the law will apply.
“We drafted the legislation with that in mind and we’ll look at the book to see whether it lands where we expect it will,” said Morgan.
“Justice officials will acquire a copy of it and no doubt look very carefully and as quickly as they can.”
This is the first time that Saskatchewan has taken action under the new proceeds of crime legislation. The law would allow the government to seize profits and forward them to victims of the crime in question or to a victims’ support fund.
Thatcher’s publisher, Toronto’s ECW Press, says it will wait to see what action the province takes before deciding if there will be a challenge to the legislation, either by the publishing company or by Thatcher.
If the province does collect the profits, Thatcher believes that under the legislation the money would go to his three children with Wilson. But he says that’s not why he put pen to paper.
“I didn’t write the book for that particular purpose (of profit),” he says.
“I think when they read the book, I think that they’ll agree that this book falls outside that legislation.”