A man who was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of an RCMP officer is back in the Yellowknife courtroom today.
Emrah Bulatci, 27, is appealing his conviction in the 2007 shooting death of Hay River, N.W.T., Const. Christopher Worden.
Bulatci said the judge who handled his trial, former N.W.T. Supreme Court justice John Vertes, made a number of mistakes in the way the jury was selected and in allowing secretly-recorded conversations he had in jail to be used as evidence.
The three justices who will hear today’s appeal have three options: they can uphold the first-degree murder conviction, they can convict Bulatci of a lesser offence, or they can order a new trial.
Bulatci cannot be acquitted because he admitted in court that he did shoot Worden.
Susan Hughson, the director of appeals for Alberta Justice, said if the three judges don’t agree on the appeal the case could go to the highest court in Canada.
"If there’s a dissent by one justice on a question of law, then the defence or the Crown, whoever the dissent supports, would have a right of appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada," said Hughson.
Bulatci, who is from Alberta, was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole for 25 years. He began serving his sentence at the maximum security facility in Edmonton about two years ago.
Like him, one third of the almost 300 inmates there are serving life sentences.