VANCOUVER, B.C. – The BC Court of Appeal has rejected Cody Legebokoff’s application for a new trial based on the belief that a judge implied his lawyers behaved unethically.
Now 26 years old, Legebokoff was convicted of first-degree murder in September 2014 and sentenced to life in prison for killing three women and a teenaged girl in the Prince George area between October 2009 and November 2010. Legebokoff’s lawyer Eric Gottardi told the B.C. Court of Appeal that the judge made disparaging comments about Legebokoff’s counsel during the case, but those views were only made public after a sentence was imposed.
Justice Glen Parrett said Legebokoff’s lawyers had exaggerated and distorted evidence in a 2012 application to have the trial moved to Vancouver. Gottardi said that he was not arguing that his client faced actual prejudice, but rather that the appearance of unfairness amounted to a miscarriage of justice.
Gottari states during the appeal back in May that “This was a slam-dunk Crown case. The judge should have bent over backwards to ensure the accused had a fair trial, and he didn’t. This verdict cannot be allowed to stand on that basis.”
However, B.C. appeal court Justice David Frankel said in today’s written decision that a judge’s view that counsel has acted unprofessionally does not convey bias because judges must decide cases based on facts and the law. Frankel says Legebokoff was competently represented throughout the trial and there is no suggestion that the judge’s views affected how he conducted the proceedings.