Nova Scotia

Crown appeals after murder charged dropped against N.S. man accused of killing mother

The Crown is appealing a decision of a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge that ended the murder trial against a man accused of killing his mother.

Judge ruled Crown could not use evidence gleaned from so-called 'Mr. Big' sting

John Buckley enters Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Bridgewater, N.S., on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. (Robert Short/CBC)

The Crown is appealing a decision of a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge that ended the murder trial against a man accused of killing his mother.

Last month, the Crown withdrew the charge of first-degree murder against John Buckley after Justice Josh Arnold ruled some evidence would be inadmissible at his trial.

The charge relates to the death of his mother, Victoria Brauns-Buckley, 57, in 2012. She was found dead in the home she shared with her son in Chester Basin, N.S. 

Arnold ruled the jury would not be permitted to hear the results of an undercover police operation against Buckley, commonly known as a Mr. Big sting, where officers pose as criminals to draw confessions from suspects.

Without that evidence, the Crown had no case and Buckley was freed.

In documents just filed with the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, the Crown argues that Arnold "erred in law in ruling inadmissable in evidence the respondent's inculpatory statement made to the police."

The Crown is asking that Buckley's acquittal be set aside and a new trial on the charge of first-degree murder be ordered.

Buckley was 19 at the time of his mother's death, and was arrested and charged with second-degree murder early in the police investigation. But prosecutors dropped that charge a few months later, saying there was no likelihood of a conviction.

Four years later, in April 2016, Buckley was charged again — this time with first-degree murder. RCMP officers said at the time they had located new evidence to support the charge.

It was never revealed how Brauns-Buckley died.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Blair Rhodes

Reporter

Blair Rhodes has been a journalist for more than 35 years, the last 27 with CBC. His primary focus is on stories of crime and public safety. He can be reached at blair.rhodes@cbc.ca

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