Tori Stafford's killer, Michael Rafferty, files notice of murder appeal | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Tori Stafford's killer, Michael Rafferty, files notice of murder appeal

Michael Rafferty in 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

TORONTO - Child killer Michael Rafferty is hoping to have his first-degree murder conviction set aside and a new jury trial ordered, but will first need a judge's permission to have his appeal heard, court records show.

Rafferty, who is serving a life sentence in Kingston Penitentiary for raping eight-year-old Tori Stafford and murdering her, raises two grounds in his inmate notice of appeal.

"The jury failed to apprehend the evidentiary requirement to convict for first-degree murder," according to his handwritten notice.

The second ground claims "the honourable judge failed to properly instruct the jury."

However, Rafferty, 31, was late filing his appeal notice, meaning he will need permission to press his case, which will be heard automatically if a time extension is granted.

In his application — filed more than the 30 days normally allowed — Rafferty explains why he needs the extension.

"I have tried to initiate this appeal as quickly as possible," he wrote in his appeal notice dated June 26 but only sent to the court a month later.

"But my inability to use the telephone to contact legal counsel prevented me from doing so."

An Ontario Appeal Court official said it would "probably take a while" for a decision on the extension because a trial transcript and exhibits need to be gathered to send to the deciding judge.

Normally, the Crown consents to the extension and the judge grants it unless the delay in filing is deemed to be unjustifiable. In that case, the Crown may object and a judge would only decide after hearing submissions, usually done in writing.

Because Rafferty is arguing legal errors, if he continues with a full appeal it will be automatically heard if the time extension is granted.

Rafferty's appeal lawyer, Joseph Neuberger, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Although the notice lists his conviction date as "May 9 or 10, 2012," Rafferty was convicted May 11 of first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping in Tori's 2009 abduction from outside her school in Woodstock, Ont., and subsequent killing.

He was sentenced to life without parole eligibility for at least 25 years on May 15, although his notice puts the date at May 16.

At sentencing, Superior Court Justice Thomas Heeney — Rafferty lists him in his notice as Henni — blasted the killer as a "monster."

Rafferty maintained his innocence, saying he stood "firmly" behind his not guilty plea.

His former girlfriend and accomplice in the killing, Terri-Lynne McClintic, is also serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to first-degree murder.

Evidence was that McClintic lured the Grade 3 student to Rafferty's car. They then drove her to a secluded area where he raped her. One of them then smashed her head in with a hammer before burying her body under garbage bags and a pile of rocks.

To avoid prejudice to the accused, Heeney did not allow the jury to hear evidence seized from Rafferty's laptop, which included child pornography, torture videos and a movie about the abduction of a girl.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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