Nfld. & Labrador

Steven Neville found not guilty in 2010 stabbing death of Doug Flynn

After eight days of deliberation, the 10-person jury reached a verdict in Neville's retrial.

Jury deliberated for 8 days in retrial, believed to be a record for murder trials in this province

Steven Neville says he went through a lot of stress the last nine years, and he's relieved it's over. (Gary Locke/CBC)

A 10-person jury has found Steven Neville not guilty of second-degree murder, eight years after Doug Flynn was stabbed to death in a street fight in Paradise.

Neville was also found not guilty of attempted murder in the stabbing of Ryan Dwyer.

Families of both men were reportedly upset after the verdict was announced at Supreme Court in St. John's on Friday. Flynn's mother sat weeping in the courtroom.

Bob Buckingham is the lawyer who represented Steven Neville at his 2018 retrial. (Gary Locke/CBC)

Neville, meanwhile, wiped away his own tears and smiled.

"After nine years, I went through a lot of stress," Neville told reporters afterwards. "I'm relieved this is finally over and I'm extremely happy with the verdict today and I'm glad my innocence has been proven."

Flynn was stabbed in the head on Oct. 9, 2010. The defence did not dispute it was Neville who delivered the fatal blow, but said it was an act of self defence.

The outcome is the complete opposite from what a jury decided in 2013, when Neville stood trial for the first time and was found guilty on both counts. That decision was overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada, and a retrial was ordered.

The retrial saw the Crown contend that Neville acted as the aggressor and had wanted to kill Flynn and Dwyer over a threatening Facebook post, while the defence painted Flynn and Dwyer as predatory "thugs," with Neville simply defending himself.

The bombshell verdict comes after a marathon session of deliberations — eight days in total — believed to be the longest for a murder trial in the province's history.

They began deliberations last Friday afternoon after a lengthy trial rehashed much of the same evidence that was heard in 2013.

"We're glad that this is over," said defence lawyer Bob Buckingham. "The jury did a tremendous job and obviously had some difficult issues to deal with and they came up with … a good verdict in our opinion."

Last week, Judge Robert Stack concluded his set of instructions — taking time to explain how the jury could find Neville guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter, or find him not guilty of either.

Similarly for the attempted murder charge, Neville could have been found guilty of several less serious assault charges, or acquittal.

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