Aurore!  The Mystery of the Martyred Child
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City of Québec.
(Preliminary Inquiry)

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Examination of ÉMILIEN HAMEL, sixteen years of age, of the parish of St. Jean Deschaillons, labourer,

taken under oath on this twenty-fourth---- day of February,------in the year of Our Lord nineteen hundred and twenty,------------------in the City of Quebec, in the aforesaid district, before the undersigned, Judge of the Sessions of the Peace, in and for the City of Quebec, in the presence of the accused, Télesphore Gagnon.

Examined by Maître Arthur Fitzpatrick, Crown Prosecutor:-

Q. You are the nephew of the accused?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Do you know the accused, present in this court?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Have you ever worked for him?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Did you know little Aurore Gagnon, who died?

A. Yes, Monsieur. I knew her.

Q. Did you see her at his home, when you worked for the accused?

A. Yes, I saw her.

Q. Were you aware of the relationship between the accused and his little girl, and how he treated her while you were there?

A. When I was there, I saw that he had beaten her because she hadn't washed her dishes.

Q. Did he beat her often?

A. Ah, no.

Q. How many times did he beat her?

A. Once, in front of me.

Q. At other times, did you hear him beat her?

A. No, Monsieur.

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Q. You saw him beat her only once?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Him, only once?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Did anyone else beat her?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Who was that?

A. Her.

Q. What did she use to beat her like this?

A. A switch.

Q. A big switch or a small switch?

A. A small switch.

Q. Did she beat her for a long time?

A. No, she didn't beat her for long.

Q. How long did she beat her for? How many times did she strike her?

A. I didn't rightly count.

Q. Did the child struggle, cry?

A. She didn't struggle; she cried.

Q. Was she right to beat her, in your opinion?

A. Well, she hadn't washed her dishes; it seems to me she was right.

Q. Have you, yourself, ever told the father not to beat his child like that?

A. Well, I didn't tell him…

Q. Did you or did you not tell him, Monsieur Hamel?

A. I didn't tell him.

Q. You never told the father not to beat his child?

A. No, Monsieur.

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Q. Did you tell the mother?

A. No, I didn't tell her anything, because I was afraid I’d be told off.

Q. Were you afraid?

A. Well, I was young and I was afraid.

Q. Was she beating her very hard?

A. When I was there, she wasn't beating her very hard.

By the Judge:-

Q. Where was she beating her?

A. On the legs.

Q. With the switch?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. On top of her dress?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Did she seem angry?

A. No, Monsieur.

Q. Did she strike her many times, with this switch? Or was it a moment of anger?

A. Five or six times.

Q. Was it a switch like the one on the table there, Exhibit P.2?

A. Ah no, smaller.

By Maître Art. Fitzpatrick:-

Q. Are you saying, Monsieur Hamel, that you saw him beat her only once?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. And the mother, you saw her beat her too?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Now, why did you leave?

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A. They no longer needed me; the site had been cleared, and I left.

Q. While you were there, did they tell you not to talk about what went on there, not to say that they beat their child?

A. No, Monsieur.

Q. Did they tell you not to talk to your mother about this?

A. No, Monsieur. They did not say anything about that.


Cross-examined by the Hon. J.N. Francoeur, K.C., for the accused:-

Q. When were you thus employed by your uncle?

A. At the end of March, last year.

Q. 1919?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Until what date?

A. I can't say.

Q. Were you there a month?

A. No, eight or nine days.

Q. You worked in the woods, at the logging site, with your uncle?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Was it a site he worked for himself or for someone else?

A. He worked it for a Monsieur Bernard; some days, we worked directly for him. My uncle was ill at that time.

Q. During the eight or nine days that you were at your uncle's, did you spend your days at the house or in the woods?

A. We would go to the woods too.

Q. And during those eight or nine days, you saw Monsieur Gagnon punish Aurore once with a switch smaller than this one?

A. Yes, Monsieur.


Source: ANQ, TP12, S1, SS1, SSS1, 1960-01-357605, 3C 030 03-07-001B-01, Cour des sessions de la paix, matières criminelles, greffe de Québec, Déposition de Emilien Hamel, enquête préliminaire de Télesphore Gagnon, February 24, 1920, 5.

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