Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Christopher Falconer Appeals Murder Conviction in Death of Bound, Buried Woman

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Christopher Falconer Appeals Murder Conviction in Death of Bound, Buried Woman

Article excerpt

Lawyer appeals conviction in murder of Amber Kirwan

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HALIFAX - The lawyer for a Nova Scotia man appealing his murder conviction for the death of a woman whose bound body was found in a shallow grave says the jury received confused instructions on how to interpret key evidence.

Lee Seshagiri argued Thursday in the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal that the jury may not have understood whether evidence had to be accepted as fact in the trial of Christopher Alexander Falconer for the murder of 19-year-old Amber Kirwan.

"These are repeated and multiple signals to the jury that there were limitations on their function of weighing evidence," he said. "That is a significant error of law."

Falconer was given an automatic sentence of life in prison with no parole eligibility for 25 years after he was convicted by a jury in January.

He had pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Kirwan, who vanished after leaving a pool hall in New Glasgow on Oct. 9, 2011.

Her naked, bound remains were discovered lying face down in a clandestine grave about a month later near a rural road in nearby Heathbell.

In arguing the jury wasn't properly instructed, Seshagiri gave the example of expert evidence on the amount of codeine found in Kirwan's body.

He noted that the defence lawyer in the case, Mike Taylor, had questioned the figures given by an expert toxicologist.

Seshagiri said that if defence counsel was trying to undermine the credibility of findings in a report, jurors shouldn't have been left with the impression the expert's report was to be accepted as fact. …

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