Paddy’s Last Word Series #7: The truth about Christopher Clarkson

[Note: This is the seventh of Paddy Mitchell’s seven final blog entries, written shortly before his death on January 14, 2007, and mailed to Ottawa to be posted on his blog. The series is being published posthumously between January 21 and January 25th.] Howdy Folks, 

I received a letter from my son Kevin today, and he included an article from the newspaper about Christopher Clarkson which included a photo of him getting of an airplane at the Ottawa International Airport, in handcuffs, obviously not looking forward to the 20 year prison sentence.  He escaped this, by jumping bail, and living an honest existence, having married, and becoming a successful businessman over the past 30 years.  

My heart goes out to him and his family.   If he is made to do the 20 years – it wouldn’t be fair at this late stage.  He proved that he’s not a criminal by his exemplary behaviour over the past 30 years.  I didn’t know this back in 1975 when he and I met, and Tommy Harrigan, and Lionel Wright were arrested for conspiracy to import a narcotic (cocaine) into Canada.  I’d met him 2 or 3 times.   He was a highly intelligent , 25ish gentleman and Hollywood handsome.   And, other than meeting Lionel and I, those 2 or 3 times, had nothing to do with the so called “Stopwatch Gang”, and never robbed or stole anything in his life. 

The only thing I know about his “criminal career” is that he traveled to Curacao in 1975 or ’74 with Tommy Harrigan – I don’t believe he had anything to do with that 8 ½ pounds of cocaine – that came out of that trip.   I didn’t put up any money for those drugs.   I got involved in the “Conspiracy” because I knew someone at the airport who said he could get the suitcase out of customs without inspection.   As it turned out, he was an agent, provocator, working for the RCMP and he entrapped several people into joining conspiracies to import narcotics.   And, shame on me and about six others, we fell for it.   One friend of mine committed suicide, two jumped bail, two were acquitted, and three of us were convicted and sentenced to 17 years in prison.  If you want more information about this, ask me, I’ll be honest!   I believe it’s time (after 30 years) that the truth should be known about those conspiracies. 

P.S.  Somebody finally got it right!  My congratulations to reporters:  Andrew Seymour and Chris Lackner of the Ottawa Citizen for getting the facts about the “Stopwatch Gang”. Everything in their article rings true. 

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