A new trial has been ordered for one of the two men convicted of murdering 14-year-old Chelsey Acorn of Abbotsford in 2005.
Dustin Blue Robert Moir, 27, has won his application for an appeal, with the three-judge panel in agreement that a new trial should be granted.
The ruling, made Wednesday in the B.C. Court of Appeal, comes just nine days after Moir’s father, Jesse Blue West, 60, was convicted of first-degree murder in relation to Acorn’s death.
Moir was convicted of the same charge in February 2010. A first-degree murder conviction comes with an automatic life sentence and no chance of parole for 25 years.
Moir is appealing his conviction on the basis that Justice William Grist erred in some of his instructions to the jury, including on a consideration of the motive for the murder.
The judge stated that a possible motive would have been a fear by Moir that Chelsey would report him to police for having sex with her when she was 13. The age of consent at the time of their relationship was 14, although it has since been raised to 16.
The B.C. Court of Appeal panel stated that no evidence was presented at trial that Moir was concerned about Chelsey reporting him to the authorities, and the judge erred in suggesting that as a possible motive.
The panel also said the judge was wrong in not instructing the jury on the proper use of testimony by two witnesses that was inconsistent with their previous statements to police.
Chelsey (in photo at left) was reported missing from an Abbotsford foster home on June 10, 2005. Her remains were found April 8, 2006 in a shallow grave near the Carolin Mines exit off the Coquihalla Highway outside of Hope.
She had been buried naked, and an autopsy determined that her skull had been crushed with a large rock sometime in the fall of 2005.
West, a former long-haul trucker from Surrey, and Moir, from Mission, were charged with her murder in 2007. Both went on trial in November 2009, but West’s proceedings were severed from Moir’s two months later.
Most of the Crown’s case in both trials was based on evidence gathered in separate “Mr. Big” operations in which undercover police officers posed as members of a criminal organization.
West and Moir were each videotaped confessing to the “boss,” but both testified at their trials that they had lied to win favour with the crime ring.
Moir testified that his father strangled Chelsey, and his only involvement was in helping to bury her body.
West testified that Moir accidentally killed Chelsey after he struck her during an argument, and he then buried her body.
A date for Moir’s new trial has not yet been set.