Ermine launches appeal to overturn murder conviction

Robyn Ermine, shortly after her own testimony at trial in Prince Albert. Arthur White-Crummey/Daily Herald

Robyn Ermine is appealing her conviction for murder.

A jury found Ermine guilty of second-degree murder last month for the 2015 death of her fiancé, Evan Bear. On May 30, she filed a notice of appeal with the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan, alleging an “incorrect finding of guilt.”

She is also appealing her sentence: life in prison with no chance of parole for ten years.

Legal aid filed the appeal, but a court worker confirmed that Ermine is currently representing herself. She is seeking new counsel. If her appeal succeeds, the court could order a new trial. In that case, Ermine indicated that she prefers to be tried by a judge alone, rather than risking another jury.

During Ermine’s trial at Prince Albert’s Court of Queen’s Bench, the Crown argued that she stabbed Bear during a fight in their home on Muskoday First Nation, and that she meant to kill him. The defence conceded that she struck Bear, but claimed she was acting in self defence.

Her lawyer, Adam Masiowski, argued that his client never had the intent to kill. He called on the jury to return a verdict of manslaughter if they weren’t convinced by his self-defence argument.

But the jury disagreed, and convicted her of second-degree murder – which carries an automatic life sentence. She is currently housed in Pine Grove Correctional Centre.

The date for Ermine’s appeal hearing has not been set. Since the court does not sit over July or August, the earliest it could occur is September.