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Vader's case goes before Court of Appeal

Travis Vader’s lawyers have appeared before a judge to ask for a new trial in the deaths of two St. Albert seniors.
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EDMONTON, ALBERTA: MARCH 08, 2016 - Travis Vader looks on as his lawyer, Brian Beresh, speaks with media following the first day of the first-degree murder trial at the Edmonton Law Courts on Tuesday March 8, 2016. Vader has been charged wtith the first-degree murder of St. Albert residents Lyle and Marie McCann, who went missing near Edson nearly 6 years ago.

Travis Vader’s lawyers have appeared before a judge to ask for a new trial in the deaths of two St. Albert seniors.

Vader, who is currently serving a life sentence for killing Lyle and Marie McCann, had his lawyers appear on his behalf before the Court of Appeal of Alberta on Nov. 28.

Vader was convicted of manslaughter in the deaths of the senior couple in 2016.

The criminal trial for the disappearance and deaths of the McCanns spanned six years and was finally wrapped up with a life sentence on Sept. 15, 2016.

Vader’s lawyers are asking the Court of Appeal of Alberta for a new trial based on the large number of errors that occurred during the original trial. Brian Beresh, Vader’s lawyer, is arguing the trial took too long and the convictions should be stayed.

Beresh said the RCMP were negligent in dealing with disclosure, which added a delay of several years to the process.

The McCanns were last seen filling their motorhome with gas in St. Albert on July 3, 2010, before setting off on a planned trip to visit with family and camp on the West Coast. Their burned-out motorhome was found near Minnow Lake campground, southeast of Edson, two days later.

Their bodies have never been recovered.

Vader was charged with first-degree murder in 2012 but the charges were stayed in March 2014. They were reinstated in December of that year.

The case went to trial in 2016, during which the Crown asked for a life sentence.

Vader was originally convicted of second-degree murder in September 2016 by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Denny Thomas in the deaths of the McCann couple.

However, Thomas relied on a section of the Criminal Code which had been deemed unconstitutional by the courts 26 years earlier. In October 2016, his verdict was eventually substituted for two counts of manslaughter.

Vader was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for seven years.

In January 2017, Beresh filed the documents for an appeal, stating Vader is looking for a stay of proceedings on the sentence or an acquittal.

If the matter was to go to trial again, Vader would request his case be heard by a judge and jury.

Beresh said Vader is in custody and, to the best of his knowledge, behaving himself while he awaits the outcome of the appeal

The Court of Appeal, made up of Justice Peter Martin, Justice Marina Paperny and Justice Jack Watson, reserved their decision. No date was available for when the decision will be made.

Beresh noted this case could be taken as far as the Supreme Court of Canada.

Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

About the Author: Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Jennifer Henderson is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for Great West Media based in St. Albert, Alta.
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