Criminal Law

Men convicted of Babcock murder unlikely to get parole: Hicks

By Staff

The first-degree murder verdict for two men accused of killing 23-year-old Laura Babcock came after jury deliberations that were "quite long," Toronto criminal lawyer Christopher Hicks tells CTV News.

“The jury took their time and sifted through all of the evidence they had very carefully,” he says. “I think it was a very conscientious effort on their part. It took a while.”

The deliberations started on Tuesday and went until Saturday when the jury returned with the guilty verdict for both men.

Hicks, a partner with Hicks Adams LLP, says it can often be a challenge for the prosecution in murder trials where the body of the deceased is never found as was the case in this matter.

The difficult part, he says, can be “to persuade the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the person is really dead."

“That’s usually done by showing there’s been no activity in their bank accounts; they haven’t used their cellphone or their credit cards; no one they care for has seen them in ages, and so on,” he says. “You try and present a preponderance of evidence that would say that the only reasonable conclusion is that this person is deceased.”

Hicks notes that evidence around where the victim’s cellphone was last used likely provided information around where she was last heard from and “that can be very important.

“Every time you make a call or receive a call, the signal is going to bounce off a tower and that gives investigators a location,” he says.

Hicks also points to how the jury was not told certain information — namely that both accused men were already serving life sentences for the 2013 first-degree murder of a Hamilton man — in order to ensure a fair trial.

“Previous offences were withheld from the jury. That kind of propensity evidence would have poisoned this trial,” he says.

“The fact that both have been convicted before and that conviction also involved an incinerator method of disposing of the dead body would have been extremely prejudicial.”

Hicks also explains how this case didn’t involve a cutthroat defence, where one co-accused points the finger at the other co-accused and says, “I didn’t do it the other guy did.”

It’s unlikely that either man will be granted parole down the road given this is their second murder conviction, Hicks adds.

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