December 10, 2013 1:30 pm

Court rules Tori Stafford’s killer’s appeal should be funded by the public

An Ontario Appeal Court has ruled the public should fund a bid by Michael Rafferty to appeal his convictions in the murder of eight-year-old Victoria Stafford.

Dave Chidley/The Canadian Press

TORONTO – Ontario’s top court has ruled that the public should fund a bid by Michael Rafferty to appeal his convictions in the murder of eight-year-old Victoria Stafford.

Appeal Court Justice Marc Rosenberg ruled today that Rafferty’s case is too complex for Rafferty to handle on his own with the assistance of duty counsel.

Rosenberg says in his decision that it’s in the interests of justice that Rafferty have a lawyer for his appeal and either Legal Aid Ontario or the government should pay.

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Read More: A timeline of the Victoria ‘Tori’ Stafford murder

Rafferty has been turned down four times by Legal Aid since his convictions in May 2012 for first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping in the Woodstock, Ont., girl’s death.

Rosenberg has ordered Rafferty’s case sent back to Legal Aid for reconsideration, but if it still refuses, Rafferty’s lawyer should be paid by the attorney general for Ontario.

Lawyer Paul Calarco argued at the Appeal Court earlier this month that one ground for Rafferty’s appeal is that the jury should have considered that he might have been only an accessory after the fact to Tori’s brutal murder.

© The Canadian Press, 2013

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