Family upset with Crowns decision in Terry Dean Allen manslaughter case
TRURO - The Crown is abandoning efforts to appeal a judge's decision to acquit Terry Dean Allen of manslaughter in the death of a Truro toddler.
Crown attorney Diane McGrath said a review of the June 2009 trial proceedings determined an appeal could not be sustained.
"In order for the Crown to appeal a decision we have to find an error in law and in this case when the transcript and the judge's decision was very carefully analyzed and reviewed there was no error in law made," said McGrath. "We can't appeal something simply because we may disagree with his findings of fact. There has to actually be an error in law.
"That means these proceedings as they relate to Mr. Allen in the death of Samantha Mercer are concluded.
"This is it."
In his Sept. 14 decision, Judge Alan Tufts concluded during the three-week trial the Crown had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Allen was guilty of the manslaughter charge.
Mercer, 3, died in March 2005 as a result of injuries sustained in the Brunswick Street home that Allen at the time shared with her mother Aleisha Mercer.
Allen claimed she fell down a flight of stairs while he was babysitting, which caused the fatal injuries described during the trial, including severe head trauma, a broken arm, several compressed vertebrae and dozens of bruises all over her body. The toddler died at the IWK hospital after being taken off life support.
McGrath spoke with Mercer's family members Thursday morning.
"The family is understandably upset," said the Crown attorney. "This was a very emotional time for them, beyond that I really can't comment on the family's situation or perspective.
"This, of course, as in many homicide cases, was a circumstantial case we were relying on evidence from the scene. There are no eye witnesses typically in cases like this, and again it involved the death of a young child which brings to it another element on an emotional level for many of the participants."
Allen's defense attorney Donald Murray said his client is relieved by the Crown's decision, however, no one is "doing cartwheels."
"It has been going on a substantial amount of time and he has been attempting to move on and start a new chapter in his life," said Murray.
"Currently he is out of province and endeavouring to do just that, and so this will certainly aid in this process."
The Mercer family could not be reached for comment.
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