The man convicted in the 2011 murder of Armstrong teenager Taylor Van Diest attempted Friday to have his conviction overturned.
A lawyer working on behalf Matthew Foerster argued to appeal the conviction in a Vancouver courtroom, claiming the trial judge erred in several areas. The process was simultaneously live-streamed into a Vernon courtroom where Van Diest’s family had gathered.
A panel of judges heard the argument and reserved judgment, meaning the Van Diest family could be waiting anywhere from a few weeks to a few months before they know whether they’ll have to go through another trial.
In April 2014 a five-woman, seven-man pool of jurors returned to a Kelowna courtroom, unanimous in a guilty verdict on the charge of first degree murder after just over 24 hours of deliberation.
To have reached that decision they had to conclude that Foerster, 28, was intending to sexually assault Taylor Van Diest, 18, when he fatally injured her on a set of secluded train tracks Halloween night 2011.
His lawyer had unsuccessfully hypothesized he was just trying to woo the teen, and had pushed her over with fatal consequences when she spurned his advances.
When Foerster was asked by Justice Peter Rogers if he had anything to say following the jury’s decision, defence lawyer Lisa Helps declined on his behalf.
Foerster was similarly silent over the course of the trial, where gruesome witness testimony about Van Diest’s final night was laid out.
A forensic pathologist, the emergency room doctor who treated Van Diest and even those who came across her battered body on the railway track described how the 5-foot-4, 126 lb teen had been fatally beaten the night she met Foerster.
It was the teen’s fight for survival that ultimately convicted Foerster, said Crown Counsel in his closing arguments. Despite the significant size difference between Van Diest and her attacker, she scratched his neck and collected the DNA that tied him to the scene.