NEWS

Court rejects appeal of disabled man who killed bartender

07/27/2012 11:20 EDT | Updated 09/26/2012 05:12 EDT
A mentally disabled man who shot and killed a Calgary bar owner eight years ago has lost his bid to have the country’s highest court overturn his second-degree murder conviction.

On Friday, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeal, ruling that the lower court judge did not fail to consider all the relevant evidence in convicting Adrian Walle for killing Jeffrey Shuckburgh in 2004.

Walle shot Shuckburgh, 29, while he was being escorted out of Shuckaluck’s Pub in southwest Calgary.

Walle had concealed a sawed-off .22-calibre rifle and brought it into the bar.

He was initially found guilty of manslaughter, but the Alberta Court of Appeal overturned that decision and ordered a new trial.

In 2008, Walle was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

That ruling was upheld by the Alberta Court of Appeal in 2010. Walle’s lawyers argued his conviction should be reduced to manslaughter.

But a three-judge panel dismissed their contention that Walle’s reduced mental capacity — plus his consumption of alcohol that night — meant he could not have formed the intent necessary for a murder conviction.

Last year the Supreme Court of Canada granted Walle leave to appeal his conviction.

On Friday, Justice Michael Moldaver, writing for the seven-judge panel, said the trial judge was correct in applying a “common sense inference” on Walle’s part — that “he was able to or did in fact foresee the consequences of his actions when he pulled the trigger.”

Moldaver noted that Walle has several psychological disorders including Asperger’s disorder, paranoid personality disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, adult antisocial disorder and alcohol abuse disorder.

But no evidence was given at trial to suggest that Walle’s disabilities made him unaware of the consequences of his actions, Moldaver said.

Walle's lawyer, Karen Molle, said she is disappointed with the decision. She said Walle wasn't diagnosed with Asperger’s disorder until after the second trial.

"Obviously, an unfortunate result for him. The only upside to this is now he knows, his family knows and the professionals that deal with him now know it's an Asperger’s condition. And hopefully he can benefit from that,” she said.

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