Conviction appealed

The woman convicted of killing Gerald Dawson has filed an appeal to the Yukon’s highest court. Last fall, 36-year-old Karen Rodrigue was found…

The woman convicted of killing Gerald Dawson has filed an appeal to the Yukon’s highest court.

Last fall, 36-year-old Karen Rodrigue was found guilty of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Dawson, 64, following a Yukon Supreme Court trial.

Dawson died after being stabbed in the back sometime after 1:30 a.m. on July 17, 2004.

His body was found 10 days later, on the floor of his home in the Marwell industrial area.

During the 10-day jury trial, Rodrigue pleaded not guilty.

However, she was ultimately given the minimum sentence for life in prison. This means she can’t apply for parole for 10 years.

The appeal, filed November 24, 2005, suggests there were errors made by the Crown, the trial judge and the jury.

The Crown presented the jury with “myths and stereotypes” in order to disprove the defence of provocation, it says.

Presiding Justice Leigh Gower failed to adequately instruct the jury on a variety of fronts, states the appeal.

This includes failing to instruct the jury that its decision must be based on evidence, not myths and stereotypes; that it is up to the jury to decide how much of Rodrigue’s statement to police it accepts and what weight it is given; that evidence of Rodrigue’s actions after the killing could be considered while her demeanour should not be, and that there are other possible explanations for her actions after the killing, such as her drug and alcohol addictions.

As well, Gower’s summary of the facts of the case was “overly detailed, lengthy and confusing,” the appeal says.

It is asking the Court of Appeal to either give Rodrigue a manslaughter conviction or a new trial.

The appeal was filed by Nils Clarke, one of the defence lawyers who represented Rodrigue in trial.

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