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Supreme Court will hear appeal for Derksen’s alleged killer

WINNIPEG – Three decades after the murder of Candace Derksen, the identity of her killer is once again in dispute.

“My hope, our hope, it would be a done deal,” said Fred Derksen, Candace’s father. “That would be great, but we’re not hanging on that.”

Canada’s highest court will now hear the case and decide whether Mark Edward Grant deserves a new trial.

Grant was convicted of second-degree murder in 2011, but last October, that conviction was overturned by the Manitoba Court of Appeal.

“My hope is that they will uphold the decision. I think [the murder conviction] was the right decision,” Candace’s mother, Wilma Derksen, told Global News Thursday.

When the 13-year old went missing in 1984 it sparked a massive manhunt. Derksen was eventually found frozen to death, her body tied up, in an East Kildonan shed.

The case went cold for 20 years but in 2007, DNA evidence led police to Grant.

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After a lengthy trial, Grant’s lawyer appealed the conviction, arguing the judge made several errors during the trial. The DNA evidence was also questioned.

Grant’s lawyer wasn’t expecting the Supreme Court of Canada to step in.

“I was surprised,” said Saul Simmonds, Grant’s legal counsel. “I would have thought the decision by the Court of Appeal was so strong we wouldn’t be there, but you never know what drives [the Supreme Court of Canada’s] attention.”

Grant is still in custody but can apply for bail as his conviction has been overturned. Simmonds wouldn’t say whether he plans to do that at this point.

It could take more than a year before the Supreme Court of Canada hears Grant’s case.