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Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Supreme Court asked to review new trial for Grant in Derksen killing

Posted: 11/25/2013 2:01 PM

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Canada's highest court will be asked to weigh in on whether Mark Edward Grant should get a new trial in the 1984 killing of schoolgirl Candace Derksen — as Manitoba's Court of Appeal recently ruled he must.

Prosecutors will seek leave from the Supreme Court of Canada to appeal a recent bombshell ruling from Manitoba's top court ordering Grant to be retried on a second-degree murder charge.

Grant, 50, learned Oct. 30 that his conviction for second-degree murder for 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.

Grant's trial judge barred his lawyers from presenting evidence of a police investigation eerily similar to the Derksen probe taking place months after Derksen died and at a time when Grant was already in custody on an unrelated matter.

The Crown must now prove they have a case to make to the Supreme Court by arguing the Manitoba court's decision to order new trial was wrong in law.

The court must first grant leave to the Crown, deeming the case to be of "national importance" and worthy of being heard by a full nine-member court panel. If it does, it will open the door to a full hearing which likely won't take place for some time.

The Derksen family was notified late last week of the Crown's decision in the case, a Manitoba Prosecutions Service spokeswoman said Monday.

A jury convicted Grant in early 2011 following a lengthy and complex trial.

The Crown's case hinged on DNA evidence allegedly linking him to twine used to bind Derksen, who went missing after school Nov. 30, 1984, and was found weeks later frozen to death in a rarely used machinery shed in a brickyard near the Nairn Avenue overpass.

Grant was arrested 2007 after cold-case homicide investigators reopened the file and had DNA tested at a private lab in Thunder Bay, Ont. He has been in custody ever since.

It is open to him to make a bail application, but has yet to signal he will. He has been returned to Manitoba, court records show.

James.turner@freepress.mb.ca

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