Robert Badgerow is the first person in Canada ordered to stand trial for the same murder 4 times. It’s been 35 years since Diane Werendowicz was strangled and drowned in a ravine on her walk home from a bar in Stoney Creek. The latest jury to decide Badgerow’s guilt or innocence will consider evidence no other jury has been allowed to hear.
“They are not to come into this with any pre determined views based on the fact that there have been other trials. They have to take it on the basis of presumption of innocence for the accused and they will hear the evidence.” Jeffrey Manishen, defence lawyer.
The first trial started in January 2001. By April, the jury found Badgerow guilty of first degree murder. He was sentence to life in prison without parole for 25 years but Badgerow appealed his conviction. It took 7 years but in September 2008 he was ordered a new trial based on evidence that was presented that his team says was a breach of the charter of rights and freedoms. The second trial in 2010 ended in mistrial.
There were 51 crown witnesses and 19 defence witnesses some of whom may be called back for the 4th trial. The third started one year later in 2011 the jury was split and again it was a mistrial. In total the former steel worker spent nearly 11 years behind bars and is currently on bail and living in Binbrook.
Originally, when a prosecutor attempted to try him for a fourth time a judge with the Ontario Superior Court ordered a halt to the proceedings. He said the accused has already spent years in prison at a time when he was presumed innocent. But a 2014 an appeals court ruled that “the public interest in such a trial outweighs any unfairness in trying the respondent a fourth time.”
Robert Badgerow’s fourth trial starts September 19th.