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Grant seeks to have murder conviction in Candace Derksen case overturned

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One of Manitoba's most notorious criminal cases is back in court.

Mark Grant appeared Tuesday before the Manitoba Court of Appeal seeking to have his second-degree murder conviction overturned and a new trial ordered.

Grant, 49, is citing 18 alleged errors made by Chief Justice Glenn Joyal in his handling of the high-profile jury trial, which ended in February 2011.

Grant is also appealing Joyal's sentencing decision, saying it was unduly harsh. Grant was given a mandatory life sentence with no chance of parole for at least 25 years. Joyal said he raised parole eligibility from the minimum of 10 years and imposed the maximum sentence allowed by law to reflect Grant's horrific criminal record and the severity of his crime.

Candace Derksen, 13, was grabbed off the street on Nov. 30, 1984, while walking home from school, bound with rope and left to freeze to death inside a brickyard shed. Her body was found in the shed on Jan. 17, 1985.

Jurors spent three days weighing the evidence against Grant, which largely consisted of DNA evidence that finally cracked the case in 2007.

Three pubic hairs were found on or near Candace's body, although police have said she wasn't sexually assaulted. Four scalp hairs that appeared to have been lightly bleached near the roots were on Candace's clothing. There is evidence Grant had dyed his hair around the same time. DNA extracted from the twine used to tie her up was found to be a maternal match to Grant.

During the trial, defence lawyer Saul Simmonds attacked the Crown's case by accusing it of using "bad science" to try to solve the mystery. He said police ignored certain evidence that pointed away from Grant, contaminated the original crime scene and mishandled key exhibits, such as the twine.

Crown attorney Brian Bell said DNA evidence connects Grant to the murder, with a one-in-50-million chance the genetic profile is from someone else.

The appeal hearing is set for two days.

 

www.mikeoncrime.com

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