The family of murdered teen Chelsey Acorn will hear details of her horrifying death for a third time after a judge granted an appeal to one of the men convicted of killing her.
News of a new trial for Dustin Moir came just 10 days after Moir's father Jesse West was also convicted of first-degree murder in the case, a verdict Chelsey's younger sister said would finally allow the family to "move on."
But on Wednesday, B.C. Court of Appeal Justice Elizabeth Bennett said the judge in Moir's trial erred when he gave the jury instructions. The trial wrapped up a few days after the start of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics when a jury found Moir guilty of first-degree murder, a charge that comes with an automatic 25-year life sentence.
West's trial began last year and ended two weeks ago with another guilty verdict.
"Here we go again," said Chelsey's mother Lisa Acorn, in reference to news of Moir's successful appeal.
"Sorry to inform you all but we are going to be going through another trial. Dustin Moir has received another chance to walk the streets among us," she said in a message to Facebook friends and supporters.
Acorn added she felt Chelsey had already received justice.
"No question he is guilty and will pay the consequences of his actions one way or another."
Moir and his father were tried separately for the murder, which took place along the Coquihalla River in late 2005.
Acorn was 14 years old when she ran away from her Abbotsford foster home. Her body was found in April 2006 by hikers along the river just north of Hope. She had been strangled and buried naked in a shallow grave. Her head had been crushed by a large rock.
At both West and Moir's trials, Crown set out to prove that father and son planned and participated in Acorn's murder. The prosecution's case was largely based on incriminating statements made during a "Mr. Big" undercover operation and after their arrest.
Each man testified in his own defence at their separate trials, and each blamed the other for the actual murder. They both admitted to helping to bury her body along the rocky riverbank.
In a ruling posted online Wednesday, Bennett said a judge must provide instructions to a jury when a witness makes a statement in court that's inconsistent with a statement he or she has made previously.
Those instructions were not given at Moir's trial.
"In my view, there is merit to the appeal," said Bennett.
"I would allow the appeal, set aside the conviction and direct a new trial."
It is not clear when Moir's new trial will begin.
"The Crown's going to be carefully reviewing the decision before we make any determination as to what the next step will be in the case," said Neil MacKenzie, a spokesman for the Criminal Justice Branch.
- With files by The Canadian Press
Click here to read more stories from The Province