Edmonton

Travis Vader files notice of appeal on murder convictions

Travis Vader's lawyers filed notice of appeal Friday morning, less than 24 hours after their client was convicted in Alberta Court of Queen's Bench on two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Lyle and Marie McCann.

Defence team says judge 'erred in law' and made findings of fact 'not supported by the evidence'

Travis Vader spoke to the media in October 2014 after he was granted bail and released from the Edmonton Remand Centre. (CBC)

Travis Vader's lawyers filed notice of appeal Friday morning, less than 24 hours after their client was convicted in Alberta Court of Queen's Bench on two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Lyle and Marie McCann.

The three-page document, filed in Edmonton with Alberta's highest court, cites errors of law as the grounds of appeal, specifically the use made by Justice Denny Thomas of Section 230 of the Criminal Code in finding Vader guilty of second-degree murder rather than first-degree murder, which he was charged with.

That section was declared unconstitutional in 1990 by the Supreme Court of Canada.

"The learned trial judge erred in relying upon a law no longer in force and effect in relation to second-degree murder," the appeal notice said. "The learned trial judge erred in law by making findings of fact that were unreasonable and not supported by the evidence."

Vader's lawyers are asking the Alberta Court of Appeal to set aside the second-degree murder convictions and instead enter an acquittal.  

If a new trial is ordered, the appeal notice seeks to have Vader tried by a judge and jury. His initial trial, which lasted six months, was by a judge alone.

"Given the nature of this error, we think it's irreversible," defence lawyer Brian Beresh told CBC News on Thursday. "And the only answer is a new trial, or a stay of proceedings pursuant to section 11B of the charter."
Travis Vader's lawyer, Brian Beresh, speaks to the media after his client was convicted of second-degree murder. (CBC)

Beresh declined further comment when reached Friday by telephone.

A spokesperson for Alberta Justice also declined comment because the case is still before the courts.

The McCanns disappeared in July 2010 after leaving their St. Albert, Alta., home to visit family in Chilliwack, B.C.

Their bodies have never been found.