LONDON, Ont. — Taxpayers will foot the higher bill for Michael Rafferty's appeal, which will sketch a picture of a man trying to help his killer-girlfriend escape justice.
Legal Aid Ontario denied for the fifth time a request to pay for Rafferty's appeal of his 2012 conviction for the first-degree murder, sexual assault and kidnapping of eight-year-old Victoria "Tori" Stafford, his lawyer Paul Calarco confirmed Thursday.
That means Ontario's Attorney General must pay Rafferty's legal bills.
The little girl disappeard while walking home from school April 8, 2009, lured to Rafferty's car by his girlfriend, Terri-Lynn McClintic. Tori was raped, beaten to death with a hammer and left in garbage bags under a pile of rocks in a remote location near Mount Forest, Ont.
McClintic received a life sentence in April 2010 after pleading guilty to first-degree murder.
Rafferty received a life sentence in 2012 and tried four times since then to get Legal Aid to pay for his appeal.
The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled Dec. 10 that Rafferty has grounds to appeal his conviction and ordered that if Legal Aid denied the funding, the Attorney General of Ontario foot the bill under a section of the Criminal Code forcing governments to hire lawyers “in the interests of justice” where an inmate cannot afford one himself.
Defence lawyers have told QMI Agency the costs of the appeal will likely be higher on the Attorney General's account than under legal aid.