Rafferty to appeal conviction
London Community News
By Raveena Aulakh
Michael Rafferty, the man sentenced to life for the killing of 8-year-old Tori Stafford, is appealing his conviction on grounds the judge failed to properly instruct the jury.
In the appeal received by the Court of Appeal for Ontario on July 26, Rafferty also says the “jury failed to apprehend the evidentiary requirement to convict for first-degree murder.”
If a new trial is ordered, he would like a trial by jury, Rafferty wrote from prison.
Rafferty missed the 30-day deadline to appeal his conviction but asked for an extension, attributing the delay to “inability to use the telephone to contact legal counsel.”
It is not uncommon for those sentenced to life to appeal.
Rafferty, 31, was sentenced May 15 in the abduction, rape and murder of the 8-year-old Woodstock girl, in a packed London courthouse.
Related articles: Judge to Michael Rafferty: 'You, sir, are a monster'
Tori went missing on April 8, 2009, triggering one of the largest manhunts in Canadian history. Rafferty and Terri-Lynne McClintic, then lovers, were arrested a month later and charged. Tori’s remains were found on July 19. McClintic pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison in April 2010.
Rafferty’s trial, with shocking twists and turns, lasted 10 weeks. The jury took about a day to render a guilty verdict.
But presiding judge Thomas Heeney was criticized for excluding character evidence.
The jury never heard about evidence seized from Rafferty’s laptop, including child pornography, torture videos and a movie about the abduction of a little girl. The jury also did not hear that Rafferty liked choking women during sex.
Heeney later defended his decision, saying the evidence was legally inadmissible because it breached Rafferty’s Charter rights.
Rafferty’s appeal papers appear to have been filed from Kingston Penitentiary.
Meanwhile, McClintic will appear in a Kitchener court on Sept. 12 on assault charges.
The charges stem from an alleged jailhouse brawl between McClintic and Aimee McIntyre, a fellow inmate at Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener. The alleged incident happened on Jan. 30 and McClintic was charged in February.
- Torstar News Service