TORONTO – The man convicted in the kidnapping and murder of eight-year-old Victoria “Tori” Stafford is still trying to find a lawyer for his attempt to appeal his conviction.
Wearing a blue prison jumpsuit, Michael Rafferty appeared via video at the Court of Appeal for Ontario in Toronto where his matter was put over until Aug. 12.
Rafferty is appealing on grounds that the judge in his trial failed to properly instruct the jury and that the jury didn’t properly understand the required evidence to convict him of first-degree murder.
The court heard that by Aug. 12, a private lawyer who has been in touch with Rafferty hopes to have enough information for the court to determine if Rafferty will get a court-appointed lawyer or have his application for legal aid approved.
Both scenarios would result in taxpayers footing the bill for Rafferty’s appeal.
That angered Tori’s father, who was present at the hearing.
“I want everybody to know that my family hasn’t given up on Victoria,” Rodney Stafford said outside the courthouse.
“We know she’s gone and everybody cares deeply. We can’t just let this go. It’s not like somebody took our dog or anything — somebody took my flesh and blood, and I want to make sure justice is served.”
Rafferty was convicted in May 2012 of first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual assault causing bodily harm in the Woodstock, Ont., girl’s death on April 8, 2009.
Rafferty’s former girlfriend and accomplice in the killing, Terri-Lynne McClintic, is also serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to first-degree murder.
Evidence was that McClintic lured the Grade 3 student to Rafferty’s car with the promise of showing her a dog.
The pair drove about 130 kilometres north to a secluded field, where the girl was raped and brutally beaten to death.
She died from at least four blows to the head from a hammer and 16 of her ribs were broken or fractured. Her body was buried under garbage bags and a pile of rocks.
Rafferty told the court Monday he was being moved to a different province in the coming weeks.