Category Archives: Events

Forensic anthropologist cracks historical Canadian murder cases

417-9_EVITE_JULY15On Tuesday, July 15th, 7:00 pm at the Ottawa Public Library on Metcalfe Street, join us for a presentation by world-renowned forensic anthropologist and historical crime author, Dr. Debra Komar, on how she uses her modern forensic skills to turn some of Canada’s most notorious historical crimes upside down.

Along with meticulous archival research for her books, Dr. Komar proved the innocence of those who swung at the end of a nineteenth-century hangman’s rope, creating reverberations in the modern-day courtrooms of the country.

This event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase.

The Lynching of Peter Wheeler is the second of four books planned by Komar about historic crimes in Canada.The first in the series, The Ballad of Jacob Peck, was released in 2013 to critical acclaim.

The Lynching of Peter Wheeler

“Her body lay broken in the sitting room. Blood pooled thick and glutinous around her head. A container of homemade preserves lay half-eaten beside her, a spoon still cradled inside. The bloody fingerprints on the handle beckoned a sickening thought: her assailant had paused to eat the jam after killing her.”

So begins The Lynching of Peter Wheeler, a shocking story about the state-sanctioned lynching of an innocent outsider wrongfully convicted of killing a teenage white girl in nineteenth-century Nova Scotia.

On a cold winter night in 1896, fourteen-year-old Annie Kempton was home alone having a taste of freedom without parents or family around. Sometime before daylight she was wrenched from her bed, a violent struggle ensued, and her throat was slit.

Peter Wheeler was an itinerant labourer of African descent who had finally found a home in small town Bear River. Uneducated and too trusting of authority, Wheeler was bewildered at the reaction when an inquest witness seemingly pointed out a lie in his testimony.

From then on Wheeler was placed atop the suspect list by authorities, where he stayed until swinging dead from the hangman’s rope.

The Lynching of Peter Wheeler tells the tragic and fascinating story of how an isolated Victorian community, with an unsophisticated inquest panel, was influenced by an arrogant detective who fancied himself a media darling.

With conservative mores left traumatized in the wake of a young girl’s vicious murder, and the salacious headlines splashed across the local newspapers in a yellow journalism war, Wheeler never stood a chance.

Debra Komar spent months meticulously researching in libraries, museums, and archives to prove the hapless Peter Wheeler wasn’t the killer, and examines how authorities denied him justice with a rush to judgement.

She uses her formidable forensic skills along with riveting prose to draw readers into an investigative page-turner that leaves you astonished at the outcome.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Debra Komar is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and a practicing forensic anthropologist for over twenty years, Komar has investigated human rights violations for the United Nations and Physicians for Human Rights and testified as an expert witness in The Hague and across North America. She is the author of the book Forensic Anthropology: Contemporary Theory and Practice for Oxford University Press (2008). Komar’s first historical crime work, The Ballad of Jacob Peck, was released to critical acclaim in 2013.

Florida audience gives warm welcome to Ottawa authors

Vicki Delany, R.J. Harlick and C.B Forrest participate in a panel discussion in Lake County, Forida. March 2014.

Vicki Delany, R.J. Harlick and C.B Forrest participate in a panel discussion in Lake County, Forida. March 2014.


Three CCW member authors, RJ Harlick, CB Forrest and Vicki Delany, visited Lake County, Florida on March 13-15, 2014 to participate in its annual Bookfest.

Lake County is just north of Orlando, Florida. This was the community’s first experience with authors from its northern neighbors.

The Canadian authors were greeted with warm weather and warm audiences.

Judy Buckland and her team from the Lake County Library System did a marvellous job organizing the conference.

The authors presented at venues in the cities of Leesburg, Mount Dora and Clermont.

The events provided the authors with an opportunity to introduce themselves to the Florida market.

Their books are now available in all Lake County libraries.

Crime fiction goes south–to Florida

CCW members R.J. Harlick, C.B. Forrest, and Vicki Delany head south to meet with fans from Florida.

CCW members R.J. Harlick, C.B. Forrest, and Vicki Delany head south to meet with fans from Florida.

Our CCW Florida satellite team (AKA Ken Gibson)  arranged for three lauded crime fiction writers (and CCW members): Vicki DelanyR.J. Harlick, and C.B. Forrest to appear as featured guests at the

This writerly trio will be appearing at the Lake County Library System’s 11th annual Lake BookFest, Delicious Reads event from March 13-15, 2014. Lake County is situated north of Orlando.

These authors will be appearing at the BookFest:

On Thursday, March 13 from 1 – 3:30 p.m for “Northern Exposure: Canadian Crime Fiction”  at the Leesburg Public Library. This event will introduce new works and exciting news.

On Friday, March 14 at 1 p.m.  for “Across the Border” at the W. T. Bland Public Library in Mount Dora. The authors will discuss the differences in the crime genre from a Canadian perspective.
On Saturday, March 15 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. to lead a  writing workshop on “The Art of Character – Creating Memorable Characters” at the Cooper Memorial Library  in Clermont.

For more information about their Florida appearances, see this news release.

Learn about Canada’s border security

The February meeting wiil take place at 7:00 on Wednesday, February 12 in the Honeywell Room at City Hall. The speaker will be Peter Rickard of  the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

Peter is currently the manager of Compliance for the Advance Passenger Information Program at CBSA. He is responsible for monitoring and analyzing passenger data to determine compliance with Canadian law for arriving international commercial aircraft. His current interests encompass aviation security, regulatory compliance, and fraud investigation.

The CBSA provides border services that support national security and public safety while enabling the free flow of legitimate persons and goods. Headquartered in Ottawa, CBSA monitors, investigates, detains and removes people or goods in violation of the laws. Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, measures have become increasingly important to protect the safety of Canadians. Using advance information and international partnerships, CBSA identifies and intercepts threats before they arrive at Canada’s borders.

Peter’s talk will include the history and purpose of CBSA, aviation and trade security. he will discuss the challenges faced by the agency, including terrorism smuggling, human trafficking and money laundering.

Oct. 9 meeting – The cyber arm of the law


Greg Bembridge will discuss basic techniques of computer forensics and the reasons for using them, and tell stories on how they have led to convictions. He is a certified computer examiner, a civilian member of the RCMP and a senior computer forensic instructor at the Canadian Police College.

Greg is a graduate of the Technical University of Nova Scotia and has been declared an expert witness in the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia court systems.

Currently, as a member of the Technological Crime Learning Institute team, he develops and teaches computer forensic examination techniques to Canadian and international law enforcement agencies. Prior to this, Greg was a forensic analyst with the RCMP’s Technological Crime Unit in Halifax where he was involved in the seizure and examination of electronic storage devices. He has conducted a number of lectures on computer forensic techniques.

Next meeting: Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013

Time and place: 7 p.m., Honeywell Room, City Hall

Sept. 17 – Senator Vern White explores past policing experiences

Vern_WhiteSenator Vern White will be our speaker Tuesday, September 17. Most of us are familiar with his role as Chief of the Ottawa Police Service from 2005 to 2012. He also worked with the RCMP as Assistant Commissioner, and served in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and three northern territories, as well as Ontario.

He will be speaking about his experience in those provinces and territories.

The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Honeywell Room, second floor, at Ottawa City Hall.

June 12th, year end meeting


The winners of the CCW short story contest will be announced on Wednesday June 12 at the Clock Tower brew pub, located at 418 Richmond road (in Westboro).    The event begins at 6:00 for people wishing to order dinner.  The contest winners will read their submissions.  Other members are invited to read from their work.

In keeping with past practice, book donations for the library at the Ottawa Boys and Girls  club will be accepted.  The library serves youth from

May 8th meeting

Join us May 8th for a fascinating look at the use of number-crunching in sleuthing.

In “Crime Intelligence Analysis Unit; Discovering and exploring the details”, Kevin Mason, head of the Unit, will give us a behind-the-scenes look at what his team does, how data can be used to catch criminals, the analyst’s mindset and how his work ties in to the broader picture of law-enforcement.

The Crime Intelligence Analysis Unit of the Ottawa Police Service provides tactical and strategic support to operational, investigative and Executive teams ranging from tracking crime patterns and trends to geographic profiling of incidents and the identification of repeat offenders. The unit also monitors performance and changes in the areas of crime reporting, solvency, arrests and victimization.

*copies of the presentation unfortunately cannot be provided.


Before the meeting, CCW will be holding its annual pizza bash and elections.

The meeting starts at 6:30 pm.  Please note we will be at Ottawa City Hall,

Colonel By Room.



Manager – Crime Intelligence Analysis Unit

Office of the Chief Directorate, Ottawa Police Services

Kevin is in his 23rd year as a member of the Ottawa Police Service and is the Vice President of the National Capital Region Chapter of the International Association of Law Enforcement Analysts as well as being certified as a Geographic Profiling Analyst. He sits on the Chief’s Advisory Committee and has been active within academic advisory boards related to programs in Public Safety and Behavioural Sciences.

Prior to embracing the profession of finding and tracking bad guys/girls, Kevin spent over a decade in the area of managing prisoner movement and incarceration within the court system and Correction Canada.


Audrey Jessup Short List

On Thursday, April 18, CCW announced the five shortlisted stories.
In alphabetical order (so no indication of final position), with an initial “A”, “An” or “The” not counting, these are the five stories on the shortlist.
·        Amends   by   Jeff Ross
·        Bus 66 to Nowhere   by   Jennifer Jorgensen
·        An Improbable Meeting   by   Cynthia Syme
·        The Outsider   by   Wynn Quon
·        Trifecta   by   R.L. Brennan
Congratulations to those shortlisted.
The final rankings and the prizes will be presented on June 12 at the Clocktower Brew Pub (and restaurant) on Richmond Road (in the Westboro district of Ottawa). The evening will commence at 6:00 for those wishing to buy dinner. The awards ceremony will follow. Each person on our shortlist is given an opportunity to read part of his or her submission. Later, generally everyone who wishes to do so is given the chance to read from their own work.
Best of luck to those shortlisted.