‘Evasive and inconsistent’; B.C. court turns down Nuxalk man’s appeal

The top court of British Columbia rejected all of Phillip Tallio’s grounds for appeal

Phillip Tallio has been in prison for 37 years for a crime he says he didn't commit. Photo: APTN file

The B.C. Court of Appeal has unanimously rejected Phillip Tallio’s bid for a new trial.

But he’s not giving up.

Defence lawyer Rachel Barsky said Friday Tallio’s legal team will now ask the Supreme Court of Canada to hear an appeal of the B.C. decision that was released Thursday.

The First Nation man has served 37 years in prison for a crime he denies he committed.

Tallio was 17 when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the sexual assault and killing of toddler Delavina Lynn Mack in 1983. Mack was 22 months old and a cousin of Tallio’s in the Nuxalk First Nation in Bella Coola.

WATCH: A Case for Innocence 

Barsky started working on the case 10 years ago as part of the Innocence Project at UBC law school.

APTN Investigates looked into the Tallio case in 2018.

In his appeal, Tallio, now 55, said he has learning difficulties and did not understand the guilty plea meant he committed the crime. He also said his trial lawyer was incompetent, and pointed the finger at other suspects.

But after three days of testimony, the judges said they found Tallio “evasive and inconsistent”, and rejected all of his arguments.

Investigative Reporter / Winnipeg

Award-winning reporter Kathleen Martens covers western and northern Canada for aptnnews.ca. A veteran of the Brandon Sun, Sun Media and APTN Investigates, she is based in APTN’s head office, specializing in stories about property, women’s rights and community.