An man who has maintained his innocence since being convicted of killing his toddler cousin in 1983 testified at the B.C. Court of Appeal today as he seeks to have his guilty plea withdrawn.
Phillip Tallio pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of 22-month-old Delavina Mack in April 1983, six months after she was killed in Bella Coola, when he was 17.
Tallio has maintained his innocence and was released on bail in January.
He told the court that he did not understand the nature of the plea deal his trial lawyer at the time wanted him to sign, and he was not aware of the effects of the plea until it was later explained to him in court.
But during cross-examination at the first day of what is expected to be a month-long hearing, the Crown questioned Tallio’s version of events and his insistence that he did not understand his previous plea.
Members of Mack's family attended today's hearing and a spokeswoman said they are there to represent the victim.