Re-trial in Armstrong murder case a 'slap in the face' for victim's family - InfoNews

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Re-trial in Armstrong murder case a 'slap in the face' for victim's family

Taylor Van Diest
Image Credit: Contributed
March 08, 2017 - 8:00 PM

ARMSTRONG - The family of murdered Armstrong teen Taylor Van Diest is shocked and dismayed by a Court of Appeal ruling this week ordering a re-trial for her killer, Matthew Foerster.

“As weird as it sounds, for some reason we had a feeling it (appeal) was going to go sour,” Van Diest’s uncle Paul Albert says. “It’s still a shock.”

He says family members are hanging in there as the reality sets in — they will have to relive the tragedy all over again in court. The first trial was two weeks long, and came after  delays caused in part by Foerster changing his lawyer multiple times. 

The Court of Appeal ordered the new trial on the basis of two legal errors made at trial by the judge. The first relates to evidence about Foerster disposing of the murder weapons — a flashlight and a shoelace — and the second to a text message sent by Van Diest to her boyfriend as she was walking to meet friends. It read: “Being crreped.”

Foerster was convicted of first degree murder in 2014, a verdict that could only be reached if the jury found that he killed Van Diest while sexually assaulting her, or trying to. Foerster admitted to causing the 18-year-old’s death, but the question of sexual assault was the difference between first degree murder and a lesser charge.

In a taped police interview played at trial, Foerster agreed he was looking for sex and said ‘it just got outta hand.’ He also admitted that if Van Diest hadn’t fought back, she would still be alive.

For Van Diest’s family, having the case brought back to trial on a pair of errors is ‘a slap in the face.’

“Really, on a technicality? He admitted to it. He admitted to everything,” Albert says.

The family is awaiting more information from Crown counsel on what happens next and when and where the new trial will be.

Dan McLaughlin, a spokesperson for the Crown, was unable to provide many details at this stage, but says it’s ‘not uncommon’ for re-trials to be held in new locations to ensure the accused’s right to a fair and impartial trial.

“(It) is determined on a case by case basis,” he says.

Van Diest’s family hopes it will once again be held in the Okanagan so that family and supporters can attend.

“The crime was committed here. This is where it should be done,” Albert says.

Matthew Foerster
Matthew Foerster
Image Credit: SOURCE/ RCMP

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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