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Decision reserved after appeal by convicted Calgary murderer Robert Leeming

Click to play video: 'Decision reserved after appeal by convicted Calgary murderer, Robert Leeming'
Decision reserved after appeal by convicted Calgary murderer, Robert Leeming
WATCH: A panel is reserving its decision after hearing the appeal for man who killed a woman and her young daughter five years ago. Robert Leeming, 37, was not present in court Thursday, but a lawyer continues to defend his position: that the death of 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson was an accident. Sarah Offin reports – Jun 13, 2024

Alberta Court of Appeal is reserving its decision for a Calgary man convicted of killing a woman and her young daughter.

Robert Leeming, 37, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Jasmin Lovett five years ago.

But he continues to maintain that the death of 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson, Lovett’s daughter, was an accident.

“The point of my argument was that the medical pathologist, the doctor who did the autopsy, could not rule out that an accidental fall down stairs, for example, could have caused the injuries to the child’s brain that ultimately caused her death,” said defence lawyer Balfour Der.

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“There was a reasonable alternative that existed,” conceded Justice Joshua Hawkes, one of three panelists presiding over the hearing. “But the justice concluded that alternative was speculative.”

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“I don’t buy into the accidental,” said Aliyah’s paternal grandmother, Jodi Sanderson. “Then why let her suffer? Without even attempting to get help? Why kill her mother as a solution?”

Click to play video: 'Calgary man sentenced to life in prison, no parole for 22 years for murdering girlfriend, toddler'
Calgary man sentenced to life in prison, no parole for 22 years for murdering girlfriend, toddler

Leeming was not present in court. He is currently serving a life sentence, eligible for parole after 22 years.

Many family members who had been present throughout the court proceedings skipped Thursday’s hearing.

“It’s quite maddening that he isn’t showing or doesn’t seem to be showing any remorse,” said Kim Blankert, Lovett’s mom and Aliyah’s grandmother. “Obviously, it dredges up all of the same feelings it did the first time, though, it’s almost like there’s no time lapse in between the first court hearing.”

No date was given for when the panel will hand down its decision on the appeal.

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