Federal government orders review of first-degree murder conviction of Fraser Valley-based Indigenous artist
The federal Minister of Justice has ordered the Manitoba Court of Appeal to reconsider the first-degree murder conviction of Métis artist Robert Sanderson.
“The minister’s decision that there is a reasonable basis to conclude that a miscarriage of justice likely occurred is the result of the identification of new information that was not available to the courts at the time of Mr. Sanderson’s trial or appeal,” the statement read.
Sanderson was one of three man accused of killing three other men (Russell Krowetz, Stefan Zurstegge and Jason Gross) in a Winnipeg home in August 1996.
Sanderson and one of his co-accused was found guilty of first-degree murder (meaning the killing was contemplated), while the third suspect was acquitted. Sanderson was given a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment with no parole eligibility for 25 years, after pleading not guilty.
The Manitoba Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal of the conviction in 1999 and Sanderson was denied leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada later that year. In 2017, Sanderson submitted an application for ministerial review of the case. In 2018, he sought and was denied bail pending completion of the ministerial review, but was released on full parole shortly afterwards.
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