Man found guilty of murder in Calgary swarming death files notice of appeal to Supreme Court

One of the men found guilty of second-degree murder in a deadly 2013 swarming attack in Calgary has filed a notice of appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada in an effort to have his conviction thrown out.

The Supreme Court’s website indicates Assmar Shlah’s notice of appeal was filed late last month.

Three years ago, Shlah was found guilty in the death of Lukas Strasser-Hird. He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 12 years.

Watch below: (From September 2016) There is outrage over a new legal move by three men convicted in a deadly swarming in Calgary. As Nancy Hixt reports, if they’re successful, they could walk free.

Strasser-Hird was killed in the early morning hours of Nov. 23, 2013, when he was attacked by a group of people who beat, kicked and stabbed him in an alley behind a Calgary nightclub. He was 18 years old.

Lukas Strasser-Hird

Last month, Shlah and Franz Cabrera, who was also found guilty of second-degree murder in Strasser-Hird’s death, had their appeals denied in Alberta’s top court.

Both Shlah and Cabrera were appealing their convictions on the grounds that the jury’s verdict was unreasonable, among other things.

In a two-part decision, Chief Justice Catherine Fraser and Justice Frederica Schutz said they disagreed with statements that “no reasonable jury could have found that Shlah participated in the attack that led to Strasser-Hird’s death.”

The two men also appealed the convictions on the grounds that the judge erred in the charge to the jury, which the justices also disagreed with.

“No reviewable error in the jury charge has been demonstrated,” they wrote. “The trial judge properly instructed this jury.”

However, last month’s decision included a dissenting opinion from a third judge who had a differing opinion of whether the men should have been granted their appeals.

Justice Barbara Lea Veldhuis wrote that she concluded Cabrera’s appeal should have been allowed and that a new trial should be ordered, saying that a jury, if properly instructed, couldn’t have found him to have been an aider, abettor or participant in the attack.

She also wrote that Shlah should be acquitted based on the opinion that a jury couldn’t have found him guilty of second-degree murder based on the instruction from the judge.

Following the decision, Shlah’s lawyer, Balfour Der, indicated he believed an attempt to appeal the decision through the Supreme Court of Canada could be possible.

Global News has reached out to Der for comment on the notice of appeal filed to the Supreme Court.

Five men were initially charged in Strasser-Hird’s death. Jordan Liao, who had been charged with second-degree murder, was acquitted while Joch Pouk was found guilty of manslaughter and Nathan Gervais was found guilty of first-degree murder.

–With files from Global News’ Nancy Hixt and Adam McVicar

Watch below: (From May 2019) Nathan Gervais has been convicted of first-degree murder in the swarming death of Lukas Strasser-Hird in Calgary. The decision comes more than five years after the horrific attack. Nancy Hixt has the latest.


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