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Murder conviction overturned on appeal

After spending the past five years behind bars, Joshua Berner was found not guilty of second-degree murder in the death of 23-year-old Richmond resident Benjamin Warland.

The B.C. Supreme Court jury came back with their verdict last Thursday, two days after beginning their deliberations.

Berner was originally convicted by a jury in 2010, and was handed a 10-year sentence, but appealed the verdict on the grounds that the original judge erred in her instruction to the jury.

“Evidence was called at the re-trial that Warland was known to carry knives around town...He was known to be a violent individual,” said lawyer Jason Tarnow, who represented Berner during the first trial.

Berner was accused of stabbing Warland multiple times in January of 2009 after Warland, Berner and another man exited a bus near Cambie and Bargen Road.

Berner testified that the stabbing was a matter of self-defense after a tussle between the men took a more serious turn.

Warland was rushed to hospital after being found on the lawn of a home, but the young father later died.

“Berner testified, saying that Warland pulled out the knife,” said Tarnow.

Tarnow believes that Berner was a victim due to his mother’s media coverage, Carol Ann Berner, who was convicted of the death of a four-year old while driving impaired in July 2010.

“He was never Joshua Berner in the headlines, he was always Carol Ann Berners’ son. He was never given a fair shot in the media. You’ll never convince me otherwise that the jury wasn’t aware of that,” said Tarnow.

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