A second degree murder conviction from 2011 has been overturned.

A three-judge panel at the Ontario Court of Appeal has overturned the second degree murder conviction of Ron Ward.

Ward was convicted of driving his truck into Scott Hayes, killing him, following an altercation with Ward’s brother Feb. 12, 2010 in Wingham.

It was Wingham’s first reported murder since 1879.

Ward was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 14 years in September of 2011. Five years later, an appeals court ruled that the judge that day erred in his charge to the jury.

The appeals court panel felt the judge’s actions during his charge didn’t allow the jury to consider Ward’s actions as an accident, therefore leaving no room for an acquittal.

Because Ward was not “properly” convicted of second degree murder, the appeals panel overturned that conviction and assigned a conviction of manslaughter.

They decreased Ward’s sentence from life with no chance of parole for 14 years, to time served.

Ward is a free man.

The appeals court decision is here.