Man convicted in webcam murder denied government funded lawyer for appeal

Toronto – A man who killed a Toronto university student from China in an attack partly witnessed via webcam has been denied a request for a government-paid lawyer to represent him in an appeal of his conviction.

Brian Dickson was found guilty of first-degree murder in April 2014 in the death of Qian Liu, a York University student who was living in off-campus housing.

The 23-year-old Liu had been chatting via webcam with her ex-boyfriend in China in April 2011 when a man forced his way into her room and knocked her down.

The ex-boyfriend testified at Dickson’s trial that he heard two muffled bangs before there were no more sounds from Liu. He testified that after a period of silence he heard the man breathing heavily and moments later the man appeared naked from the waist down in front of the webcam and turned off the computer.

Liu was found dead, mostly naked and face down on the floor of her basement apartment.

The Crown had argued that Dickson, who was a tenant in the same building, forced himself on Liu and then killed her to cover it up. The defence suggested Dickson accidentally caused Liu’s death during the assault and argued manslaughter was an appropriate verdict.

By Diana Mehta
The Canadian Press

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