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Former pastor found guilty of killing wife wants new trial

Adam Posluns, lawyer of convicted killer Philip Grandine, speaks in a court of appeal as friends of Grandine’s deceased wife Anna “Karissa” Grandine look on in Toronto on April 20, 2017. CITYNEWS/Marianne Boucher

A former pastor found guilty of killing his pregnant wife says his conviction was a miscarriage of justice and wants a new trial.

Philip Grandine — who has been out on bail since August 2015 pending his appeal — was convicted of manslaughter three years after he deliberately drugged his wife Anna “Karissa” Grandine and she drowned in a bathtub in their Scarborough home on Oct. 17, 2011.

Judge Robert Clark sentenced Grandine to 15 years in prison — 14 years and eight months with credit for time served.

The Crown’s theory in the trial was that Grenadine secretly drugged Karissa with the sedative lorazepam and then either helped her into the tub or allowed her to take a bath and then waited for her to pass out and drown or actually held her underwater.

The Crown had accused Grandine of plotting to kill his wife in order to continue an extramarital affair with his friend’s wife, a parishioner at his church. Grandine was on the phone with his mistress the night his wife drowned.

In a court of appeal in Toronto on Thursday, Grandine’s lawyers argued he should have his conviction and sentence overturned because the trial judge erred when answering a question from the jury during deliberations.

The jury asked whether knowledge of Karissa taking a bath and not stopping her is equivalent to causing her to get into the tub, knowing she was drugged.

Clark instructed the jury they could find Grandine guilty even if they didn’t find he gave Karrisa the lorazepam.

It was enough to find that he knew she was drugged and let her get into the tub, knowing she was in danger of drowning. He had a duty to protect her, Clark said.

This theory allowed the jury to compromise and find guilt without tackling the issue of who administered the drug.

Grandine’s lawyer Michael Lacy argued Clark erred in his answer by introducing a “new unlawful act” in his answer.

Lacy said Clark “decided on his own” to craft a new path to manslaughter and “introduced a completely different case” in his answer.

Grandine never had an opportunity to say what his position was; he didn’t testify, Lacy added.

The Crown responded by saying there was no evidence Karissa took the drug herself.

Grandine is also asking that his 15-year sentence be reduced to five to eight years if the appeal fails.

Karissa’s mother and friends were in court for Grandine’s appeal.

Related stories:

Former pastor gets 14 years, 8 months for killing wife

Former Toronto pastor guilty of manslaughter in drowning of wife

Sergeant testifies about damning evidence found on ex-pastor’s computer