Supreme Court restores murder conviction of man who burned girlfriend's body

The Supreme Court of Canada has restored the second-degree murder conviction of a Halifax-area man who admitted to burning his girlfriend's body but insisted he didn't kill her.

Paul Trevor Calnen was convicted by a jury of second-degree murder in the death of Reita Louise Jordan in March 2013.

The Hammonds Plains, N.S., man pleaded guilty to burning her body and scattering her ashes in a lake, but maintained he did not cause her death, claiming she accidentally fell down the stairs.

The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal tossed the murder conviction in 2017 in part because the judge did not properly instruct the jury.

In a divided decision released today, the Supreme Court concluded that evidence of Calnen's conduct after Jordan's death was admissible on both the issue of whether he caused her death and whether he intended to kill her, two essential elements of second-degree murder.

The court also concluded the trial judge's instructions to the jury were adequate.