• Publication Date: October 10, 2023
  • ISBN: Print (Paperback): 9781552216996
  • ISBN: Digital (PDF): 9781552217009
  • 292 pages; 6" x 9"

The Ontario Bond Scandal of 1924 Re-examined


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Product Description

Ian Kyer’s The Ontario Bond Scandal of 1924 Re-examined investigates a famous case from the 1920s. Peter Smith, the former treasurer of the Province of Ontario, and Aemilius Jarvis, one of Canada’s most prominent businessmen, were found guilty of criminal conspiracy to defraud the Ontario government in connection with the repurchase of three series of succession duty-free bonds. At the time (and since), people have disagreed about whether they were guilty or whether they acted honestly and legitimately but were caught up in the tangled party politics of the period. Kyer, a historian and a lawyer with extensive experience with corporate finance and government-business relations, has extensively researched the case to provide a very well-written and well-​informed analysis of the bond transactions, the police investigation, the trial, and the appeal decision. He argues cogently that Smith and Irving were wrongly convicted and explains why. This is a first-rate example of the genre of legal history usually known as “legal archeology,” an excavation of a case fully informed by the law, politics, and personalities involved that serves to illuminate not just the case, but the tenor of the times. 





Part One | The Bond Purchases

one | Background to the Transaction

two | Authorizing and Completing the Purchases

Part Two | The Investigation and Trials

three | In Search of a Crime

four | The Smith/Jarvis Trial

five | Sentence and Appeal

six | A.H. Pepall’s Extradition and Trial

Part Three | A Twelve-Year Campaign for Exoneration

seven | Unremitting Efforts

eight | A Belated Second Look

conclusion | What Went Wrong

postscript | The Legal Battle over the Jarvis Fine


appendix 1 | McRuer’s Authorship of an Anonymous Memoir of Tilley

appendix 2 | Selected Letters of A.H. Pepall



Publications of the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History

About the Author

“This is a very interesting, first class book of interest to legal historians in the corporate-commercial context. It is very thoroughly researched and well and clearly written. Although the subject matter is somewhat technical, the author makes everything clear to the general reader.”
Professor Jim Phillips, University of Toronto Law School and Editor-in-Chief of the Osgoode Society
“The author has done an absolutely extraordinary job of tracing the threads of a complex financial, political, and legal “scandal” from its earliest inspiration to its final — perhaps! — implications in the creation of the Serious Fraud Office in Ontario in 2018. At its simplest, the Ontario Bond Scandal is a convoluted affair, and here Ian Kyer does herculean work to untie the knots and lay it all out for his readers to understand.”
Professor Penny Bryden, University of Victoria history department
“The cast of interesting and important legal characters is unmatched in any other Canadian case, as are the twists and turns in the case. I am proud to have this book dedicated to me.”
Martin L. Friedland, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto and former Dean, University of Toronto Law School
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