The man convicted of killing Tori Stafford seven years ago will be back in a courtroom next week.
Michael Rafferty’s appeal for a new trial will be heard by the Ontario Court of Appeal on Monday.
Rafferty was found guilty of first degree murder, kidnapping and sexual assault in 2012.
Rafferty is appealing his guilty verdict, arguing the testimony of the “unsavoury” main witness was unbalanced in the trial.
That’s a reference to Terri-Lynne McClintic, Rafferty’s former girlfriend, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in 2010. McClintic initially told police it was Rafferty who killed the Woodstock girl, but told the jury at his trial that she delivered the fatal blows.
McClintic is serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.
It was over seven years ago that Tori was kidnapped while walking home from school, raped and killed. Her body was found buried under rocks in a field near Mount Forest.
Rafferty’s lawyer Paul Calarco has argued the case against Rafferty relied almost entirely on the word of McClintic, who he describes as “a person of unsavoury character, with a serious history of violence and lying.”
In documents filed with the Court of Appeal for Ontario, Calarco argues the judge made several errors, including failing to give a “sharp warning” to the jury against relying on McClintic’s testimony.
Rafferty didn’t testify at trial four years ago, and has argued he was an accessory after the fact to murder “at most.” In his court documents, Calarco argued didn’t relay that message to the jury.
During the trial the crown argued it didn’t matter who physically killed Tori, Rafferty was guilty because they acted together.
Rafferty’s appeal will be publicly funded, the Appeal Court ruled in 2013 taxpayers should cover the cost because the process would be too complex for Rafferty to handle on his own with the assistance of duty counsel.
Rafferty’s appeal is set to be heard October 24th.