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Grant to wait for justice officials plans before seeking bail

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Mark Edward Grant will wait and see what plans Manitoba justice officials have in store for their case against him before making decisions about seeking bail, his lawyer said Thursday.

"The ball is in their court, as it were," said Saul Simmonds.

Grant, 50, learned Wednesday his conviction for second-degree murder in connection with the 1984 death of 13-year-old Candace Derksen was overturned by Manitoba's Court of Appeal. The court ruled he was not afforded the right to make a full defence.

Because of the development, Grant is no longer considered a sentenced prisoner and the federal corrections system no longer has jurisdiction over him, said Simmonds.

Grant will remain in custody and be returned to Manitoba while Manitoba Justice decides how to proceed.

Prosecutors have three options: they can elect to re-try Grant for Derksen's killing, ask the Supreme Court of Canada to overturn the appeal court's decision or elect to drop the case on the grounds there's no reasonable likelihood of conviction or it's against the public's interest.

Manitoba Justice has only said the appeal court's decision is being reviewed in detail and had no further comment.

Simmonds said Grant would consider applying for bail if the Crown elects to move ahead with a new trial, which may not happen for a year or more.

Grant was sentenced to life in prison without parole for 25 years in May 2011 after a jury convicted him of killing Derksen, who went missing in November 1984 and wasn't found till weeks later. She froze to death after being tied up in a rarely-used utility shed at an industrial business near the Nairn Overpass.

The Crown's case hinged largely on a mitochondrial DNA profile a private lab developed for Winnipeg police after cold-case investigators reopened the long-unsolved Derksen file in 2006 and sent along the twine used to bind her for examination.

Grant was arrested in May 2007 and charged with first-degree murder. He has always maintained his innocence. Court records show Grant began the process of applying for bail in the Court of Queen's Bench months after his arrest, but the application stalled for an unknown reason.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

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