Stafford family will relive horror as Rafferty asks for new trial
As the man convicted of killing eight-year-old Victoria Stafford will ask Ontario's top court for a new trial Monday, the girl's father says it's a difficult time as his family has to re-live the experience.
Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 with no chance of parole for 25 years for kidnapping, sexual assault causing bodily harm and first-degree murder in the death of the Woodstock, Ont., girl seven years ago.
His former girlfriend, Terri-Lynne McClintic, pleaded guilty in 2010 to first-degree murder, initially telling police Rafferty killed the girl, but testifying at his trial that she delivered the fatal blows.
Victoria's father Rodney Stafford feels that everyone has a right to appeal, though.
This "is another way of seeking true justice for Victoria," he says.
Still the family hopes to see the court proceedings end soon.
"We know he's grasping at legal straws because that's his legal right. But enough is enough and hopefully we have a good panel of judges on Monday," says Stafford's fiancee, Petrina Fraser.
With news that a juror who sat through the emotional trial, applied for help from the Criminial Injuries Compensation Board, Stafford says he didn't receive any compensation.
He says he was told he didn't meet the criteria.
Rafferty's lawyer, Paul Calarco, argues in documents filed with the Court of Appeal for Ontario that the judge made several errors, including failing to warn the jury against relying on the testimony of McClintic, "a person of unsavoury character, with a serious history of violence and lying."
"While the Crown had some evidence against Mr. Rafferty, the worst aspects of the case depend almost entirely on McClintic's evidence," Calarco writes.
"It was essential the trial judge give a clear, sharp warning against relying on her in the absence of substantial corroboration."
But the Crown argues there was in fact a significant amount of corroboration.
"Her testimony was supported by a compelling body of confirmatory evidence, including surveillance video footage; cellphone records; cell tower location data; forensic evidence; and analysis of the victim's blood and DNA from the appellant's car," Crown lawyers Howard Leibovich and Randy Schwartz write in documents filed with the court.
- With files from Canadian Press