Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

The Supreme Court of Canada ordered a new trial Tuesday for a Halifax man who was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of a 27-year-old man who was delivering a pizza in a city suburb.

Randy Riley was sentenced last year to life in prison with no chance of parole for 15 years for the death of Chad Smith, who was killed on the evening of Oct. 23, 2010. He was also found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm.

Smith was found with a gunshot wound to the upper right side of his body and his red pizza delivery bag nearby.

Story continues below advertisement

During the Nova Scotia Supreme Court trial in 2018, the Crown called a witness who admitted to pulling the trigger and said Riley wasn’t involved, but the trial judge warned jurors against considering the evidence.

The caution is referred to in legal terminology as a “Vetrovec warning,” where a judge suggests to a jury that evidence comes from a witness who is unsavoury and disreputable.

Riley appealed his case to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, arguing that the warning was inappropriate and damaged the defence case. A majority of the Appeal Court judges upheld his conviction, while a dissenting judge said he would have ordered a new trial.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously on Tuesday to uphold Riley’s appeal and order a new trial. Justice Andromache Karakatsanis said the Supreme Court justices agreed with the reasons provided by the dissenting Nova Scotia Court of Appeal judge.

“The appeal is allowed, the convictions quashed and a new trial ordered on the charges of second-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm,” she said.

“The Supreme Court of Canada recognized that evidence in support of the defence must not be minimized or diminished by trial judges,” Lee Seshagiri, the Nova Scotia legal aid lawyer who represented Riley, said on Tuesday. “Mr. Riley is pleased that he will have a new trial where all of the evidence is fairly considered.”

Riley has been incarcerated since his arrest in July 2013. His original trial followed the Dec. 4, 2015 conviction of Nathan Johnson for first-degree murder in Smith’s death. Court heard in the original trials that the two men were together on the night of the killing.

Story continues below advertisement

According to the appellant’s submission to the Supreme Court, Johnson testified during Riley’s trial that he was a drug dealer and was looking to collect on a debt from Smith on the night of the murder.

Both the Crown and defence agreed in their submissions to the high court that Johnson said during cross-examination he was the one who shot the victim and Riley had nothing to do with the murder. However, this evidence was in contrast to Johnson’s earlier testimony that he told his girlfriend Riley had been involved in the killing, the Crown noted in its submissions.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies