The British Columbia Court of Appeal has revealed its reasons for allowing two men found guilty of the first-degree murders of six people in an apartment building in Surrey, B.C., a new hearing to argue an abuse of process.
The ruling last month quashed the convictions of Cody Haevischer and Matthew Johnston in the so-called "Surrey Six" case but stopped short of ordering a new trial.
The Appeal Court released a brief statement announcing the decision in January, saying lawyers needed time to redact the reasons for judgment to protect confidential information, and the edited reasons were released today.
In its decision, the court says it is not ordering a new trial because a B.C. Supreme Court judge did not make a mistake in excluding Haevischer and Johnston from a pre-trial hearing that allowed a key witness to testify behind closed doors.
However, the court ruled the trial judge did make an error in dismissing an application from the two men for a hearing that would have allowed them to argue their rights were violated by police misconduct and by a lengthy period of solitary confinement before trial.
The Appeal Court affirmed the men's guilty verdicts in the notorious 2007 gang-related murders, but quashed their convictions, and sent the case back to B.C. Supreme Court for an evidentiary hearing on the abuse-of-process arguments.