Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Convicted B.C. Killer Wins Appeal as Judge Orders New Trial in Runaway's Death

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Convicted B.C. Killer Wins Appeal as Judge Orders New Trial in Runaway's Death

Article excerpt

New trial for convicted B.C. killer

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VANCOUVER - A B.C. man convicted of murdering a runaway teen has won his appeal and been ordered to stand trial again, only weeks after his father was convicted and sentenced for participating in the same crime.

B.C. Court of Appeal Justice Elizabeth Bennett said in a ruling posted online Wednesday that Justice William Grist erred because he did not give the jury instructions under some complicated evidentiary rules during the trial of Dustin Blue Robert Moir.

Moir was convicted Feb. 16, 2010 of first-degree murder for his part in the death of 14-year-old Chelsey Acorn in late 2005.

Bennett said a judge must provide instructions to a jury when a witness makes a statement in court that's inconsistent with a statement he or she has made previously, but those instructions were not given and that was an error in law.

"In my view there is merit to the appeal," said Bennett. "I would allow the appeal, set aside the conviction and direct a new trial."

Bennett also said Grist erred by admitting rebuttal evidence from the Crown and in his instructions to the jury regarding the motive for the crime, although she did not cite these reasons as grounds for a new trial.

Earlier this month, Moir's father, Jesse Blue West, was convicted of first-degree murder for participating in the crime and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

"The Crown's going to be carefully reviewing the decision before we make any determination as to what the next step will be in the case," said Neil MacKenzie, a spokesman for the Ministry of Attorney General's Criminal Justice Branch.

Acorn's remains were found "in a shallow grave" at the Carolina Mines campsite off the Coquihalla Highway in April 2006.

Bennett's ruling notes the side of her head was caved in and a large boulder was found nearby.

Available to jurors were two versions of events leading up to the murder, said Bennett. …

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