LONDON, Ont. - Unnerving evidence barred from court paints a chilling portrait of the man accused of killing eight-year-old Victoria Stafford, one that could have swayed the jury now weighing Michael Rafferty's fate, some involved in the case said Friday.
Troubling details deemed inadmissible by the court were made public Thursday after the nine women and three men of the jury began their deliberations.
Court documents laid bare the contents of Rafferty's laptop computer, which police found was used to search and view child pornography and showed traces of snuff films _ movies depicting real killings.
With the first full day of deliberations underway, Tori's father said the jury should have been allowed to see the "monster" that he believes Rafferty really is.
"The stuff that was excluded would definitely help out the case tremendously," he said Friday. "But I still think the Crown presented a very strong case."
The Crown contends Rafferty masterminded Tori's abduction, rape and murder on April 8, 2009, using his then-girlfriend Terri-Lynne McClintic as a "violent pawn" to fulfil his twisted desires.
McClintic testified that she snatched Tori at Rafferty's urging. McClintic told court he then drove them to a secluded rural area 100 kilometres away where he raped the girl and she was killed.
Rafferty, 31, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual assault causing bodily harm.
The defence argues he was an unwilling witness to McClintic's gruesome plans.
Defence lawyer Dirk Derstine recognized Friday the newly released information could have affected the trial's outcome, but said withholding it was necessary.
"It was excluded not for any other reason other than the fact that the Crown's office even conceded that it was illegally seized from Mr. Rafferty," he said.
Superior Court Judge Thomas Heeney refused to allow evidence found on Rafferty's laptop and BlackBerry — the searches, the evidence of child porn and a downloaded movie about Karla Homolka — because the search violated Rafferty's charter rights.
Investigators had a warrant to search Rafferty's car, where they found the items, and thought that meant they were on safe legal footing.
But they examined the contents of the two devices before they obtained a second warrant _ a move Heeney deemed careless.
The first court decision to spell out that a secondary search warrant is necessary under such circumstances wasn't released until several weeks after investigators began poring through Rafferty's laptop.
Stafford said he doesn't blame police for their mistake, but added that he may have been less forgiving "if it had've gone in a different direction where it blew the whole case."
While details suggesting violent sexual appetites _ including Internet searches for "underage rape," "real underage rape," "real underage rape pictures," and "nude preteen," _ may convince the court of public opinion, the jury will have to rely on testimony and record alone, Derstine said.
"The question always is whether or not the state has proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt, and that's something that very much still an issue," he said.
The judge gave lengthy instructions to the jury Thursday to help them navigate the weeks of often graphic testimony.
He issued a clarification Friday at jurors' request, telling them that rejecting evidence that supports the defence isn't enough to warrant a finding of guilt.
"You still have to look at all the rest of the evidence that you do accept to see if you are satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the Crown has proven its case," he said.