Montreal Daily Star, 21 April 1911, page 3


Warning: this article discusses a whipping in detail and may not be appropriate for younger eyes. 


Wife-Beater Howls for Mercy When Lash is Applied to His Back


Wilfrid Gervais, declared by Judge Choquet to be one of the most inhuman creatures that ever came before him, howled for mercy this morning while receiving six lashes on the bare back.

There were only eleven people present, including Sheriff Lemieux in his robes of office, and Governor Vallee, and the punishment took place where none of the other prisoners could hear or see.

At a few minutes to eight, Dr Benoit, the jail physician, examined Gervais and declared that he was physically fit to receive his punishment.

When the prisoner was led in to the room of punishment he glanced quickly at the whipping post and then at the little man who stood nearby with the “cat” in his hand.

“You are going to see an innocent man whipped,” Gervais cried as the guard pinioned his hands on either side of the post.  Then his legs were fastened and a leather collar was placed about the neck to prevent the lash hitting him there in case a stroke too high was given.

As the “executioner” raised the whip Gervais cried for mercy and exclaimed: “God I am Innocent.”

With the first lash he screamed.  That the man who was administering the punishment had had much previous experience was evident.  As the nine whip cords struck the flesh the whip was drawn across the skin, which was not broken.  With the third stroke the victim screamed “Doctor, they are hitting me over the heart.” His cries were of no avail; four, five, six times the whip fell and the Sheriff then held up his hand.  The whipper stopped.

Gervais’ hands and feet were released and the doctor examined him and waved him out of the room.  He walked back to his cell without a break in his skin.

There were several crimes for which Gervais is now serving twenty-two months in jail, in addition to the whipping.  He was know here for years as a member of a bad gang, but it was difficult to convict him.  A year or so ago he married a girl a little over sixteen years of age.  He then disappeared after taking part in an assault upon a constable but came back to Montreal and keeping well under cover lived with is wife.  For fifteen days neighbors heard the young woman’s cries for assistance, and finally the police were called in and Gervais was arrested.  His wife was in a serious condition from the beatings he had administered including a brutal kick in the abdomen which proved almost fatal in her delicate condition.  When Gervais was take to the police station he was recognised as the man wanted for the former assault.

Judge Choquet tried Gervais on two charges of assault and after a scathing lecture gave him the sentence he is now serving.

The last whipping at the Montreal jail was six years ago for criminal assault.  Twenty years ago three men were flogged for various offences on the same morning.