Ottawa man's murder conviction thrown out for second time by N.S. appeal court

(CP) - The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal has thrown out, for a second time, the first-degree murder conviction of an Ottawa man who claimed he had no idea his friend planned to shoot the victim in the head.

Steven Gareau has been ordered to face a new trial, it would be his third, although the court ruling pointedly noted a retrial is "at the Crown's discretion."

The dead man, Sean Simmons, had been targeted in October 2000 because he'd had an affair with a girlfriend of a member of the Hells Angels.

The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday that the trial judge mistakenly allowed the jury to hear about a second, earlier shooting, and mishandled wiretap evidence suggesting Gareau wasn't aware of a murder plot.

Gareau's first conviction for both murder and conspiracy to commit murder came in 2004, but it was overturned eight years later because of different legal mistakes by a different judge.

He was retried over seven months and convicted again in February 2014.