Michael Rafferty – a man convicted in May 2012 of kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of eight-year-old Tori Stafford – will appear today via video streaming at the Court of Appeal for Ontario in Toronto. Ontario’s highest court will hear Rafferty appeal on grounds that the judge improperly instructed the jury on what constitutes evidence that would implicate him of first-degree murder.
Rafferty, who was given a life-sentence, has thus far been unsuccessful in finding a lawyer to appeal his conviction. Monday’s hearing, it is widely believed, will focus on Rafferty’s attempt to have taxpayers foot the bill for an appellate lawyer.
Edward Prutschi was an expert legal guest on NewsTalk1010 to provide analysis and insight into Michael Rafferty’s appeal, and explain the process. Mr. Prutschi discusses that in order for Rafferty to successfully win an appeal on his conviction, he would need to get himself a lawyer. Rafferty’s original application to get legal aid was denied, and he is turning to the provincial Court of Appeal to demand that legal aid is given, and thus guaranteeing legal representation in his efforts for retrial.
Mr. Prutschi, admitting that although he is not privy to the specifics of the case, believes that the original application for legal aid was assessed and probably rejected because grounds to appeal were not well-articulated. On the flipside, Mr. Prutschi states that without having legal representation, it is difficult for Rafferty to put his best foot forward in his quest to appeal the verdict.