Top court asked to review order for new trial in Newfoundland drownings case

The Canadian Press
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Nelson Hart is pictured in court in this file photo.

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Prosecutors in Newfoundland have asked Canada’s top court to review an appeal court ruling ordering a new trial for a man sentenced to life in prison after he was convicted of drowning his twin daughters.

Nelson Hart was found guilty in 2007 of first-degree murder in the deaths of his three-year-old daughters on Aug. 4, 2002, at Gander Lake.

Last month, a three-judge panel of the appeals division of provincial Supreme Court unanimously ruled Hart should have been allowed to testify in private at his trial.

The judges cited his “tendency towards epileptic seizures and his difficulty in thinking and speaking clearly under stress” and with lots of people around.

In a split 2-1 decision, the court ruled that a confession Hart gave during an undercover RCMP operation should not have been entered as evidence.

It will likely be weeks or months before the Supreme Court of Canada decides whether it will review the case.

Organizations: Supreme Court of Canada, RCMP

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Canada

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  • Wanda
    October 27, 2012 - 16:39

    Mental illness or whatever, this father should have come to his senses somewhat when he heard his little daughters screaming. Obviously, they had to be screaming from the instant they hit the water while fighting for their survival. If his illness or seizures were that bad, the three yr. olds should not have been in the car with him in the first place.

  • Winston Adams
    October 26, 2012 - 20:15

    So much for respect by the crown for the Charter of Rights when the appeal court here clearly sees a miscarriage of justice due to a mental disability and the crown wants to take this to the Supreme Court of Canada. How many with disabilities get locked up without due process. Crockwell has got the ROYAL treatment. Would Margaret Tredeau have been treated like this for some incident from her acknowledged disability? But the common person -- well they're sport.

  • Tax payer
    October 26, 2012 - 19:54

    Another one who knows how to use the legal system.

  • Peggy
    October 26, 2012 - 18:32

    Seems these two precious little girls will not receive any justice for their drownings.