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Trent Butt to appeal first-degree murder conviction

Convicted murderer Trent Butt awaits his sentence for first-degree murder and arson in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John’s Tuesday morning.
Trent Butt in court in St. John’s. TELEGRAM FILE PHOTO

Cites as grounds issues with defence and Crown lawyers, judge’s instructions and jury selection process

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

Trent Spencer Butt — the man handed a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years for murdering his young daughter, Quinn — has indicated his intent to appeal his conviction.

Butt filed the notice of appeal document — which includes a two-page, hand-written account of what he alleges are his grounds for appeal — with the Court of Appeal of Newfoundland and Labrador on May 15 from Her Majesty’s Penitentiary.

While Butt was represented by lawyer Derek Hogan during his trial, there’s no lawyer’s signature on the document.

Following an emotional two-week trial at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John’s in March, a jury found Butt guilty of first-degree murder in the April 24, 2016 death of his five-year-old daughter, Quinn, at Butt’s Carbonear home. He was also convicted of arson for setting fire to the house.

Quinn’s body was found in the home by firefighters who attended the scene. Butt had doused the house with gasoline, disconnected the smoke alarms and then cut his neck and wrist before lighting the house on fire and getting in bed next to Quinn.

When first-responders arrived, Quinn was already deceased.

In sentencing Butt on April 23 of this year, Justice Donald Burrage pointed to Butt’s desire to cause pain to his ex-wife and Quinn’s mother, Andrea Gosse, by depriving her of her share of the home as well as their daughter’s remains.

In the court documents, Butt wrote, “because of incompetent defence counsel and non-disclosure of evidence by the prosecution, a miscarriage of justice resulted.”

He said this didn’t allow him to properly answer in his defence and this affected the outcome and what he termed “fairness of the trial.” He insists it was an infringement of his charter rights.

Butt said there were also jury selection errors, and members of the media violated a publication ban. He said there was also an improper challenge order and a failure to dismiss potential jurors.

Butt claims the judge’s final instructions to the jury contained errors that showed bias toward the Crown’s case and that the judge erred in answering questions by the jury and allowed evidence to be replayed without all parties present in court. The inferences made by the Crown couldn’t be challenged and prejudiced the defence, Butt said.

No date has been set to argue the appeal.
 

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