Saskatoon

Couple accused of plotting to kill spouses found not guilty at retrial after recording ruled inadmissible

The retrial of Angela Nicholson and Curtis Vey, ex-lovers who were accused of conspiring to murder their respective former spouses, ended shortly after it began Monday with Justice Catherine Dawson finding the pair not guilty.

Ex-lovers were accused of plotting to murder their former spouses

Angela Nicholson and Curtis Vey, ex-lovers who were accused of conspiring to murder their respective former spouses, were found not guilty at their retrial Monday. (Dan Zakreski/CBC)
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The retrial of Angela Nicholson and Curtis Vey, ex-lovers who were accused of conspiring to murder their respective former spouses, ended shortly after it began Monday with Justice Catherine Dawson finding the pair not guilty.

Dawson announced her decision in Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench in Prince Albert.

It came shortly after Dawson announced that an iPod recording of Nicholson and Vey could not be used as Crown evidence in the retrial.

Dawson said that using the recording as evidence in court would be in violation of Nicholson and Vey's protection against unreasonable search and seizure, as guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

According to Ron Piche, Nicholson's lawyer, the law has changed since 2016, when the iPod recording was played in Nicholson and Vey's original trial.

"The Supreme Court had two or three pivotal decisions which really put great stock on the privacy interest in conversations, not so much on the physical apparatus that records them," he said. 

Piche said a key factor was that the RCMP's Major Crimes Unit, which investigated Nicholson and Vey, "never got a search warrant for the iPod."

Dawson said that her decision did not prevent the Crown from using other evidence heard in the original trial. That included statements Vey and Nicholson made both to police interrogators and undercover officers after their arrests. 

Sitting on opposite sides

In 2016, Nicholson and Vey were convicted of conspiring to kill their former partners, Brigitte Vey and Jim Taylor, in 2013.

That conviction was overturned in 2016, when a Court of Appeal judge granted Nicholson and Vey a new trial. The judge who granted the retrial said the Crown's case was "largely" based on the iPod recording — which was made by Vey's ex-wife, Brigitte, and given to police — plus the statements made by Nicholson and Vey to police. .

During the court hearing Monday, the pair sat on opposite sides of the defendant's box, saying nothing to each other. 

Following Dawson's decision on the recording, a break was called to allow lawyers to wade through Dawson's 73-page decision.

When court resumed, Crown prosecutor Lori O'Connor said she did not plan to present any further evidence. The defence also said they had no evidence to call.

After another adjournment, Dawson announced the not guilty verdicts just before noon.

Crown prosecutor Lori O'Connor, speaking outside court after the verdicts were delivered, said her office will review whether to appeal the verdicts. 

But she said "the best outcome" had already been achieved.

"Nobody was killed and nobody was injured," O'Connor said. "Saskatchewan has a very high rate of domestic homicides. This was a situation that could have very well ended like that but for Brigitte's actions." 

Piche said Nicholson's defence would have remained the same from the original trial: that while she admitted to having a conversation in which aspects of the murder plot were discussed, she never intended on following through with anything. 

Aaron Fox, Vey's attorney, made no comments as he left the courthouse. 

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Guy Quenneville

Reporter and web writer for CBC Saskatoon

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