Phillip Tallio with his supporters Marie Spetch and Robyn Batryn. (File photo)

Phillip Tallio with his supporters Marie Spetch and Robyn Batryn. (File photo)

Appeals trial begins for Bella Coola man convicted of killing toddler in 1983

Phillip Tallio was 17 at the time of the 22-month-old toddler’s death

Phillip Tallio is in court this week fighting to prove his innocence more than 30 years after he was convicted of murdering a toddler in Bella Coola.

Tallio, who was 17 at the time of the death, was first convicted of murder in 1983 in the sexual assault and killing of 22-month-old Delavina Mack.

While Tallio claimed his innocence in the killing, his lawyer at the time – named Phil Rankin – entered a guilty plea nine days into his trial 37 years ago.

Tallio has resolutely proclaimed his innocence ever since. As a result, he has been ineligible for parole and has spent the last 34 years behind bars.

His appeal case went to trial at the B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver on Tuesday (Oct. 13), with Tallio testifying, and final arguments expected to begin the week of Nov. 23.

On Thursday morning, Tallio was questioned by Crown about whether or not he had understood what was going on in 1983, with mixed answers. Rankin is scheduled to testify at Tallio’s appeal trial later on Thursday.

If he is found innocent, Tallio will be the longest-serving wrongfully convicted person in Canadian history.

READ MORE: B.C. judge grants bail to Bella Coola man convicted of killing toddler in 1983

READ MORE: Phillip Tallio released on bail under strict conditions

In 2018, Tallio won the right to appeal, making history as the longest appeal extension to ever be granted by the courts. Justice Bennett, who granted the extension of time to file an appeal, stated, “In my view the interest of justice demand that Mr. Tallio be permitted to bring his application for further DNA testing and to go forward with this appeal generally.”

Tallio was released from prison in January under strict bail conditions and was placed in housing with 24-hour surveillance.

Tallio’s appeal was eight years in the making as part of UBC’s Innocence Project. In the documents unsealed by the B.C. Court of Appeal, his legal team claims “there is fresh evidence” from a DNA test result that they argue excludes Tallio as the killer, and provides information “leading to other possible perpetrators.”

DNA testing was not available at the time of Tallio’s conviction in 1983.

READ MORE: Judge rules appeal for 1983 Tallio murder case will go ahead


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

murder trial

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
52 positive COVID-19 cases now associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

Eight cases still active, 44 considered recovered

Salvation Army file photo
Salvation Army kettle drive begins Nov. 28

Hamper demand has accelerated this year

9th avenue pole moved
Hydro pole removed on 9th Avenue

The first major snowfall of the year delayed the removal and relocation… Continue reading

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

(Needpix.com)
Pandemic has ‘exacerbated’ concerns for B.C. children and youth with special needs: report

Pandemic worsened an already patchwork system, representative says

Most Read