News / Halifax

Crown's appeal of Nova Scotia murder case heard in Supreme Court of Canada

Paul Calnen was convicted of second-degree murder in 2015, and successfully appealed last year. The Crown appealed the case to the country's top court.

Paul Trevor Calnen exits the courtroom at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax in 2015.

Jeff Harper / Metro

Paul Trevor Calnen exits the courtroom at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax in 2015.

A Nova Scotia murder case made its way to the top court in Canada on Monday.

Paul Trevor Calnen was convicted of second-degree murder in 2015 for killing his girlfriend, Reita Jordan, in 2013.

Last year, the defence successfully appealed the conviction, with the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal throwing out the jury’s conviction, and ordering a new trial for the charge of manslaughter.

Because the appeal court’s decision wasn’t unanimous, the Crown was able to appeal the appeal, and send the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Five Supreme Court justices heard the case Monday, which was streamed online, and reserved their decision, meaning it could be months before it’s released.

The justices have three options: they can uphold Calnen’s original conviction, order a new trial for second-degree trial, or uphold the Nova Scotia Appeal Court’s decision to order a new trial for manslaughter.

In making its appeal application, the Crown asked for the Supreme Court to uphold the original conviction, and if it wouldn’t do that, to order a new murder trial.

There are multiple complex legal issues in the case, but submissions from the Crown and defence on Monday focused mainly on one: whether Calnen’s “after the fact conduct” can be used to prove his guilt.

Calnen admitted to, and pleaded guilty to, burning Jordan’s body after she was dead.

The Crown used his actions to convince the jury that Calnen was trying to destroy evidence that implicated him in Jordan’s killing. The defence argued Calnen panicked, and burned the body because he was worried no one would believe the killing was an accident.

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