One of two men previously convicted of murdering 14-year-old Chelsey Acorn of Abbotsford has been granted bail while he awaits his new trial.
Judge Brian Joyce ruled Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court in Chilliwack that Dustin Moir, 27, be released from prison on a $200,000 surety. This means another person will be responsible for paying the sum if Moir breaches any of his court-ordered conditions.
Moir was convicted in February 2010 of the 2005 first-degree murder of Acorn and received a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.
He appealed the decision, and his conviction was overturned in January of this year on the basis that the trial judge erred in some of his instructions to the jury.
A new trial has been ordered and is expected to begin in the fall of 2014.
Joyce’s reasons for granting bail cannot be revealed due to a publication ban.
Moir, wearing red prison garb and sporting a buzz cut, was present for the ruling, but showed no reaction. Two of his supporters in the courtroom broke down and hugged when the decision was read.
The conditions of Moir’s release include that he be on good behaviour, reside with his wife, abide by a daily curfew of 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., and seek/maintain employment.
Moir’s father, Jesse Blue West, 60, is currently serving a life sentence in relation to Acorn’s murder. He was convicted in January of this year, and has applied for an appeal.
Acorn (in photo at left) was reported missing from an Abbotsford group home on June 10, 2005. Her remains were found April 8, 2006 in a shallow grave near the Carolin Mines exit off the Coquihalla Highway outside of Hope.
She had been buried naked, and an autopsy determined that her skull had been crushed with a large rock sometime in the fall of 2005.
West, a former long-haul trucker from Surrey, and Moir, from Mission, were charged with her murder in 2007. West has been in custody ever since, but Moir was out on bail while he awaited trial.
Their trial began in November 2009, but West’s proceedings were severed from Moir’s two months later and didn’t begin until September 2011.
Most of the Crown’s case in both trials was based on evidence gathered in separate “Mr. Big” operations in which undercover police officers posed as members of a criminal organization.
West and Moir were each videotaped confessing to the “boss,” but both testified at their trials that they had lied to win favour with the crime ring.
Moir testified that his father strangled Chelsey, and his only involvement was in helping to bury her body.
West testified that Moir accidentally killed Chelsey after he struck her during an argument, and West then buried her body.