The B.C. Court of Appeal, in a unanimous decision, turned down Cody Legebokoff’s appeal of his murder convictions last week.
In 2014, a 12-person jury found Legebokoff guilty of four counts of first-degree murder in the 2009/10 deaths of Jill Stuchenko, Natasha Montgomery, Cynthia Maas and Loren Donn Leslie.
Legebokoff ’s lawyer applied to have the trial moved from Prince George in 2012. His grounds for seeking the change of location included that “there had been extensive local media coverage in Prince George regarding Legebokoff ’s alleged crimes and court appearances.”
During a pre-trial hearing in 2013, the trial judge denied the change of venue requested by the defence counsel. The reasons for the denial were released after conviction.
Legebokoff launched the appeal saying there was “a miscarriage of justice relating to the content and the date of release for the change of venue application.”
His lawyer argued the judge had a duty to immediately disclose his views and that the delay in doing so created an “appearance of unfairness.”
The Court of Appeal, in its written ruling, stated, “A well-informed reasonable person would know that: the trial judge was not under a duty to express his views earlier; the conduct in question occurred at an early stage of the proceedings; Mr. Legebokoff was competently represented throughout the trial; and there is no suggestion that the judge’s views affected the manner in which he conducted the trial.”
“In light of these facts, I consider that a well-informed reasonable person’s confidence in the administration of justice would not be shaken by the trial judge’s delay in making his views known.”
Legebokoff was sentenced to life in prison when he was 24 years