Perlett denied new trial

After having his case heard back in December, convicted murderer James Perlett was denied a new trial yesterday by the Ontario Court of Appeal.
Justice John Laskin, Justice Eilleen Gillese, and Justice Jean MacFarland heard the appeal back on Dec. 12 and 13, 2005, then delivered their ruling after nearly nine months of deliberation.
“I would dismiss both the motion to introduce fresh evidence and the appeal,” said Justice Laskin in a transcript of the ruling obtained by the Times.
“The evidence so overwhelmingly points to the appellant’s guilt that a new trial is not warranted. It is therefore unnecessary to deal with the Crown’s appeal,” he added.
Perlett was sentenced to life imprisonment—with no eligibility for parole for 18 years—back in January, 1999 after being convicted on two counts of second-degree murder in the shooting deaths of his parents, Carole and James Perlett, while they slept in their Third Street East home on March 22, 1996.
In the defence’s appeal, lawyer Daniel Brodsky had requested that a new trial for Perlett be ordered on two counts of second-degree murder, and to dismiss the Crown’s cross-appeal that if there is a new trial, Perlett be tried for two counts of first-degree murder.
The appeal hearing was granted after Brodsky made an application to adduce fresh evidence in Perlett’s case. The grounds of the appeal contended that:
•trial judge Justice Terrance A. Platana took away the defence’s theory, left the jury open to inference and speculation, and erred in instructing the jury on motive and post-offence conduct;
•forensic evidence (missing beer, unidentified fingerprints, and unidentified DNA mixed with Perlett’s blood);
•investigating police officers had “tunnel vision”; and
•exclusion of expert testimony, namely evidence from psychologist and memory expert Dr. Elizabeth Loftus and forensic pathologist Dr. Peter Pan.
The application to adduce fresh evidence included an agreed statement of facts explaining defence counsel’s failure to deal adequately with Dr. Pan’s evidence.
Meanwhile, the Crown had submitted an appeal on the following grounds:
•evidence the murders were an “inside job”;
•evidence that Perlett was the only “insider” who had the opportunity to commit the murders;
•evidence regarding a partially-used box of ammunition in the basement pantry (by Perlett’s account, the intruder never came into the basement);
•shoe print evidence;
•evidence undermining Perlett’s story about an intruder; and
•evidence Perlett gave repeatedly inconsistent accounts of what occurred and made false statements in order to mislead the police.
Justice Laskin referred to the Crown’s case as “overwhelming” in the ruling.
Perlett has been serving his sentence in Stony Mountain Penitentiary near Winnipeg.