Supreme Court of Canada restores conviction of BC man in murder of Japanese student – ​​Penticton Western News

The Supreme Court of Canada has reinstated the second-degree murder conviction against a British Columbia man for the 2016 murder of a visiting Japanese student, even though the prosecution relied on evidence that is not generally not admissible in court.

In a 7-2 decision, the High Court overturned a February 2021 decision by the British Columbia Court of Appeal which ordered a new trial for William Schneider following his conviction for the murder of the 30-year-old student Natsumi Kogawa.

Schneider, now in his 50s, was charged in September 2016, shortly after Kogawa’s body was found in a discarded suitcase in Vancouver’s West End, two weeks after he disappeared.

Schneider’s brother confronted the defendant after recognizing him in a photo released by police, telling the court he later heard Schneider admit to the murder in a phone conversation.

The trial judge ruled the conversation overheard was admissible and Schneider was convicted in 2018 and sentenced to life in prison with 14 years before parole eligibility, but his conviction was dropped. overturned on appeal due to its reliance on hearsay evidence.

Writing on behalf of the majority, Supreme Court of Canada Justice Malcolm Rowe upheld the Crown’s appeal against the overturned conviction, finding that the trial judge was correct in admitting the overheard conversation.

The jury was given “clear and effective instructions” about the weaknesses in the brother’s testimony and how jurors should take them into account, Rowe says.

“The instructions provided the jury with the necessary guidance to assess the evidence in accordance with legal principles. As such, the instructions effectively and adequately limited the possibility of detrimental use,” he wrote.

The Crown’s theory during Schneider’s original trial was that he and Kogawa were on a date where he got angry because she had to leave. He killed her by suffocating her, the Crown argued, although an exact cause of death was never determined.

Schneider pleaded guilty to interfering with Kogawa’s body when he placed it in a suitcase and admitted he got rid of the remains by leaving them on the grounds of the Gabriola House mansion in the West End of town, but he has always denied any part in the murder. .

Comments are closed.