The lawyer for Travis Vader, found guilty of second-degree murder in the deaths of an Alberta couple Thursday, says he has filed notice he will appeal his client’s conviction.
Watch below: Travis Vader – full verdict delivered on camera in historic case
Brian Beresh says the appeal focuses on what he calls a major error in the ruling and is seeking to have Vader acquitted or a new trial ordered. The appeal also asks that if granted, a new trial be by judge and jury.
Beresh says Justice Denny Thomas relied on a section of the Criminal Code that has been declared unconstitutional and made other errors involving the interpretation of evidence.
Beresh says nothing will happen with the appeal until Vader is sentenced in Court of Queen’s Bench, which could run well into the fall.
Watch below: Global’s ongoing coverage of the case
Alberta Justice and Solicitor General spokesperson Dan Laville told Global News: “As the case is still before the court, including as it has been appealed, it would be inappropriate for the Crown to comment.
“At this time, the Crown is not planning additional public comment other than what will be available through any future court processes.”
Asad Kiyani, an assistant professor of International and Criminal Law at Western University, said what comes next in this case is “uncharted territory.”
“I think there are some outcomes that are more likely than others but I wouldn’t bet on any of them.”
Kiyani said the verdict could be changed to manslaughter, but only if there are no other errors in the judgement.
“Or that they never get to the court of appeal potentially because the judge comes back and says I’ve made a serious error here,” Kiyani said. “He himself declares a mistrial or orders a new trial.”
However, he said there is a chance the court of appeal might decide a new trial is not necessary because the foundation for the lesser verdict of manslaughter is already there.
He describes the case as “an extraordinary situation” with an uncertain outcome.
“This is an exceptional error in an exceptional case,” Kiyani said.
“I think it’s perhaps a bit unfair to pile on to Justice Thomas in this sense because parliament hasn’t taken up its responsibilities to amend the code and it just does happen even with people who deal with the criminal law regularly.”
With files from Emily Mertz, Global News