News Provincial

Sheena Cuthill files appeal on ground of 'spousal privilege' in Ryan Lane murder conviction

By Kevin Martin, Postmedia Network

Shenna Cuthill. (File photo)

Shenna Cuthill. (File photo)

Cryptic texts between convicted killers, Timothy Rempel and his wife Sheena Cuthill, should not have been admitted into evidence, she says in her appeal.

In documents filed at the Alberta Court of Appeal, Cuthill says she should be entitled to a new trial because of errors by trial Justice Alan Macleod.

Chief among those was a pretrial ruling which allowed Crown prosecutors Tom Buglas and Shane Parker to introduced text messages between Cuthill and her husband, Rempel.

The couple, along with Rempel’s brother, Wilhelm, were each convicted by a jury last month of first-degree murder in the Feb. 7, 2012, slaying of Calgarian Ryan Lane.

Jurors accepted the Crown’s theory Cuthill orchestrated the killing to resolve a custody dispute over the then-four-year-old daughter they shared.

Cuthill had launched legal action seeking soul guardianship of the child, of whom she had permanent custody.

Jurors found the brothers lured Lane, 24, from his father’s northwest Calgary home, killed him and torched his remains in a burn barrel near Beiseker, where Tim Rempel and Cuthill lived.

Related: The jailhouse 'kite' jurors weren't allowed to see during trial

Among the grounds listed in Cuthill’s notice of appeal was “that the learned trial judge erred in denying the appellant’s application for exclusion of evidence on the basis of spousal privilege.”

Texts between Cuthill and Tim Rempel leading up to Lane’s disappearance were crucial to the Crown’s case against her.

In them Cuthill spoke of her frustration over Lane’s attempts to reintegrate himself into their daughter’s life after she commenced court proceedings for guardianship.

In her testimony Cuthill said comments which suggested she wanted Lane gotten rid of were just her “venting.”

She admitted an exchange just hours before her husband went to meet with Lane was her giving him the okay to talk with him, but claimed she didn’t want Lane harmed.

But Cuthill did admit on the witness stand that there might be violence in the meeting.

A second ground of appeal was that Macleod erred in instructing jurors they could convict Cuthill if they found she was willfully blind to what her husband and brother-in-law would do once she set her plan in motion.

All three were sentenced to life in prison without parole for a minimum 25 years.

Tim Rempel has already filed an appeal. His brother filed his late Friday.

On Twitter: @KMartinCourts 

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