Edmonton

Court of Appeal dismisses appeal in Courtepatte case

Alberta's Court of Appeal has upheld a manslaughter conviction in the case of a young woman who was convicted in the killing of Nina Courtepatte in April 2005.

Alberta's Court of Appeal has upheld a manslaughter conviction in the case of a young woman convicted in the April 2005 slaying of Nina Courtepatte.

Stephanie Bird, who was 20 at the time of her conviction, was sentenced in May to 12 years in prison. At the time of her sentencing, Justice June Ross lifted a publication ban on Bird's identity.

In a 2-1 decision, the Court of Appeal judges dismissed the Crown's appeal of Bird's acquittal on the first-degree murder charge, and subsequent conviction of manslaughter.

The Crown had appealed on the basis that the trial judge had erred in finding "an air of reality to the defence of abandonment."

Bird was part of group of people who lured Courtepatte from West Edmonton Mall on the false pretense they were going to a party, the judge found.

But Ross found that Bird had a change of heart, and left the area with Courtepatte's friend, before the young girl was killed.

The majority of Appeal Court judges upheld the trial judge's assessment, and the appeal was dismissed.

It is not known if the Crown will appeal Tuesday's ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Along with the manslaughter convinction, Bird was also found guilty in May of aggravated sexual assault and kidnapping.

 

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