Killer's murder conviction nixed over jury vetting that led to 'miscarriage'

The Canadian Press

TORONTO - Ontario's top court has overturned the murder conviction of a man who slit a woman's throat because of the way his jury was selected.

The Appeal Court ordered a new trial for Clare Spiers, who was convicted of first-degree murder in 2007 in Barrie, Ont., for kidnapping and killing a woman.

In its ruling today, the court sided with Spiers, who argued police and Crown carried out extensive and improper pre-screening of prospective jurors.

The court said the vetting disrupted the balance in the jury and amounted to a miscarriage of justice.

Spiers, an aboriginal with a long history of violence, also argued that no on-reserve residents were among the 286 people offered up for his jury.

The court did not deal with that part of his appeal because it is being handled under a different case.