The prosecutors of Newfoundland are requesting the Supreme Court of Canada to review an Appeal Court ruling which ordered a new trial for Nelson Hart. Hart was convicted after confessing guilty in 2007 to first-degree murder in the deaths of his twin three-year-old daughters. The girls were drowned in water on Aug. 4, 2002, in Gander Lake, while Hart was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Just last month a three-judge panel of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Supreme Court of Appeal collectively agreed and announced that Hart will be given the chance to testify in private at his 2007 trial. The court further declared that the confession of Hart was recording during an undercover RCMP sting operation, so it shall not be considered eligible to be counted as evidence. Majority of the judges’ panel stated that Hart has “a weak, socially dependent personality” which led him to be “coerced” into giving the confession.
The judges further pointed out that technically Hart is essentially “detained” by the state, and denied his right to keep silent. It was stated that “tendency towards epileptic seizures and his difficulty in thinking and speaking clearly under stress.” According to the Crown prosecutors arguing the judge at Hart’s trial was accurate when he decided that Hart was “socially isolated” but was “a willing partner” who could “leave the organization at any time.”
The Crown are now putting a case against the Appeal Court decision in Newfoundland, “goes beyond the careful balance struck by…(the) individual’s right to silence … and the legitimate interest of the state in law enforcement.”
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