Monday, May 18, 2015

The Sting

When I left off Friday, I was telling you about how a man named George McLeod posed as a chief inspector for the B.C. liquor control board and visited Reg Dotson, asking for money so Dotson wouldn't have to pay a fine. Dotson wisely called the police and agreed to help Inspector Charles Tuley and his fellow officers in capturing the poser.

Dotson met with McLeod the first time in Dotson's car. Later, the two spoke on the telephone - with the police listening in - and discussed the pay off. Dotson stalled McLeod by pressing for assurances he wouldn't be fined after he paid McLeod.

McLeod arrived at Dotson's home at 102 Georgia for their final meeting. Dotson answered the door in his pyjamas, appearing as if he had just woken. McLeod came in to complete the deal and Dotson handed him $50 of marked bills supplied by the police.

Unknown to George McLeod, the police were hiding in an adjacent room listening to the conversation and watching through a peep hole. Inspectors Tuley, Sutherland and Detective Thompson burst into the room and arrested McLeod.

(Here is a newspaper article on the arrest: Vancouver Daily World)

At the police station, McLeod was told he had been a fool. According to Tuley, he replied, “I know. I wish I hadn’t. Keep this quiet and I will quit my job and leave the country,”

By the time the case went to court in the fall of 1923, McLeod had worked out his defence. He didn't argue the facts the police presented but rather explained it away. He said he wasn't really extorting money; he was trying to find out which clubs were paying off the police. Dotson testified, as did Tuley and Thompson. George McLeod was believed though and he was acquitted.

So why was McLeod believed over Dotson and the police? Many reasons may have played a factor. It may have been that the fact people believed the Vancouver Police Department was corrupt. A female juror was reprimanded by the judge for stating, before the verdict was reached, that she hoped McLeod got off because she felt it was "frame-up". An officer remarked under cross-examination the police were forced to do some things, which he didn't approve of, to secure convictions under the Liquor Act. Sometimes the informers turned out to be "rotters".

The defence council grilled Dotson about the Lincoln Club, bringing up its history of liquor law violations. Dotson stated the club had shut down in October of 1922 and was now being used as a space for black railway porters. Dotson refused to answer questions on whether 102 East Georgia was the home of an illegal gambling den. He didn't want to incriminate himself.

Thanks to the Past Tense Vancouver blog for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.


  1. It's pretty bad when a bad guy gets off for being bad because preconceived notions. FACTS people.

    1. It is still that way sometimes in today's world, don't you think Lee?