Top court formally agrees to hear serial killer’s appeal over jury instructions

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear an appeal from serial killer Robert Pickton. The high court formally said Thursday it will hear the appeal over the trial judge’s instructions to the jury which convicted him of six murders.

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada will hear an appeal from serial killer Robert Pickton.

The high court formally said Thursday it will hear the appeal over the trial judge’s instructions to the jury which convicted him of six murders.

If Pickton’s appeal is successful, he could win a new trial.

As usual, the court made no comment on the announcement.

Pickton was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for at least 25 years after a sensational trial in 2007 convicted him on six counts of second-degree murder.

The one-time pig farmer was convicted in the murders of six prostitutes but was charged in 20 other deaths, as well. Those charges were severed from the original trial and have never gone to court.

His appeal deals with a technical point on whether the trial judge gave proper instructions to the jury on the question of aiding and abetting.

While the British Columbia Court of Appeal rejected the case in a 2-1 decision, the dissenting judge said the jury instructions constituted a miscarriage of justice and would have ordered a new trial.

The dissenting vote gave Pickton a right of appeal to the Supreme Court, which was formalized in Thursday’s announcement.

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