Murder victim’s family angry, shocked at appeal court decision
The family of Armstrong murder victim Taylor Van Diest is speaking out following the B.C. Court of Appeal decision to allow the accused another trial.
Paul Albert, Van Diest’s uncle, said the family is angry at the news of a new trial for Matthew Foerster.
“For all of us it’s just a slap in the face,” Albert said. “To me, the whole justice system is downgraded with this. What’s the point of having a judge?”
Foerster admitted to killing Van Diest on Halloween night 2011 along the train tracks in the north Okanagan community, but said his actions are not murder-in-the-first-degree.
He wanted to plead guilty to second-degree murder, but Crown Counsel pursued a first-degree murder conviction.
While Foerster was found guilty by a jury in 2011, the B.C. Court of Appeal unanimously found there were two important errors in the judge’s charge that may have misled the jury.
Albert said he’s spoken to Marie Van Diest, Taylor’s mother, about the court decision.
“We can’t bring Taylor back. But at least, if we can, in any way possible, we’d like to fight this and voice our opinion and let other Canadians know that we’re there for them too,” Albert said. “It’s time that we stood up.”
“Something has to be done about the justice system now. It’s broken. It’s failed.”
Victims’ rights are taken away with decisions like granting Foerster a new trial, Albert said.
“It’s shameful that in this country, that’s how this has to go.”
“This guy holds the aces? Come on,” he said. “The guy admitted to fault, and admitted to everything, and this is what we get?”
“For all of us it’s just a slap in the face.”
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