VANCOUVER — An Indigenous man who spent 37 years in prison claiming his innocence in the murder of a toddler has lost his appeal in British Columbia's highest court.
A three-member panel in the B.C. Court of Appeal ruled Phillip Tallio didn't prove his lawyer provided ineffective representation, that the police investigation 40 years ago was inadequate or that DNA evidence exonerates him.
The panel says the fact thatTallio is Indigenous has no bearing on the rules about evidence that he wanted to use in the appeal.
Tallio was 17 years old when the body of 22-month-old Delavina Mack was found in April 1983 in the family home in Bella Coola on B.C.'s northern coast.
The girl had been sexually assaulted.
Tallio received a life sentence, with parole eligibility set for 10 years, although his refusal to admit guilt meant he was never paroled and he was only released last year on bail during the appeal.
During the Appeal Court hearing last year, he told the panel that he wasn't aware of the implications of the plea agreement his trial lawyer had him sign.
A Crown lawyer argued that Tallio exaggerated some aspects of his testimony while giving different details about his whereabouts around the crime scene in Bella Coola.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 19, 2021.
The Canadian Press