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P.E.I. judges hear Joel Clow’s murder appeal

['Clow at the police detachment in Montague following his arrest. ']
Joel Clow at the police detachment in Montague following his arrest in 2015. -File

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - A P.E.I. man who was convicted of the second-degree murder of his girlfriend was back in court Wednesday trying to get a new trial.

Joel Lawrence Clow appeared alongside his lawyer, Kent Brown, in the P.E.I. Court of Appeal in Charlottetown where three judges heard submissions on the matter.

Brown argued P.E.I. Supreme Court Justice Nancy Key, who heard the trial, made several errors and a new trial should be ordered.

Clow was found guilty in July 2017 of second-degree murder in the 2015 death of Traci Lynn Lynch.

An autopsy found Lynch was beaten and had injuries to her face, neck, torso, back and extremities.

She died of a blunt-force blow to the head and strangulation.

Traci Lynn Lynch
Traci Lynn Lynch

Clow hid Lynch’s body in a wheelbarrow under a tarp at his home in Pleasant Grove.

He admitted his actions caused Lynch’s death, but he denied that he intended to kill her, which left Key to determine if he was guilty of manslaughter or murder.

In October 2017, Key sentenced Clow to life in prison with no chance of parole for 17 years.

During his submissions Wednesday, Brown argued the second-degree murder conviction should be overturned on several grounds and he said Key made several errors in her decision.

His arguments included that Key didn’t properly direct herself in the use of evidence related to Clow’s prior disreputable conduct and comments Lynch made before she died.

Brown said the question is whether Clow had the required intent to kill Lynch.

Along with the conviction, Clow appealed his sentence, asking the court to set the period before he is eligible for parole in the range of 10 to 15 years.

Crown attorney Cyndria Wedge said it was her submission that Key didn’t make errors of law and her reasons for the verdict were sufficient.

Wedge also filed a cross-appeal seeking to have the conviction changed to first-degree murder on the grounds that Clow forcibly confined Lynch.

In her submissions, Wedge suggested several of Clow’s actions, including looping a shirt around Lynch’s neck and dragging her to his home were “coercive restraint.”

Clow’s actions amounted to forcible confinement separate from the act of killing Lynch.

Wedge said the factual findings in the case were clear and when the law is properly applied it supports a conviction on first-degree murder.

On the cross-appeal, Brown argued Wedge hadn’t established the court of appeal had the jurisdiction to interfere with Key’s findings.

After hearing the submissions, Chief Justice David Jenkins told everyone in the courtroom that he wouldn’t say how long it would take for a decision, but the appeal judges would treat it as a priority.

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Related: Joel Clow gets life in prison, no parole for 17 years

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