Kaela Mehl appealed her first-degree murder conviction in the death of her 18-month-old daughter Charlotte Cunningham. Mehl claims a juror was biased and her lawyer was ineffective. (Black Press Media file photo)

Kaela Mehl appealed her first-degree murder conviction in the death of her 18-month-old daughter Charlotte Cunningham. Mehl claims a juror was biased and her lawyer was ineffective. (Black Press Media file photo)

Appeal hearing starts for Victoria woman convicted of killing her toddler

Kaela Mehl appealing first-degree murder conviction with claim of juror bias

A Victoria woman convicted in the death of her toddler will be back in court this week, this time in the B.C. Court of Appeal starting Monday.

In October 2017 Kaela Mehl was found guilty of murdering her 18-month-old daughter Charlotte Cunningham by feeding her sleeping pills and smothering her. Mehl admitted to feeding her daughter yogurt mixed with the prescription sleeping pill Zopiclone on Sept. 16, 2015.

The concentration of the sleeping pill was presumed fatal based on a blood sample taken from the child after death.

READ ALSO: Kaela Mehl guilty of first degree murder, sentenced to life in prison

Defence contended that Mehl had a mental disorder and could not be held criminally responsible, but at trial, a jury rejected that defence and Mehl was convicted of murder in the first degree.

Mehl’s appeal claims that at least one of the jurors in her trial exhibited bias by making gestures of support and sympathy towards the family of her daughter’s father. The appeal also claims that Mehl’s lawyer was ineffective for failing to bring those gestures to the attention of the judge.

An evidentiary hearing runs in the Victoria Law Courts from Dec. 7 to 11, in which the courts are expected to hear evidence relating to Mehl’s appeal. Final arguments will be heard from Dec. 14 to 18.

READ ALSO: Victoria mother convicted in baby’s murder seeks new trial, claims juror was biased


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