A man found guilty of the brutal slaying of 13-year-old Nina Courtepatte has won an appeal of his conviction.

The Alberta Court of Appeal released a decision yesterday that states Joseph Laboucan will face another trial for the April 2005 rape and murder of Courtepatte, who was found dead on a west-end golf course.

Two of the three judges who heard the appeal determined the trial judge erred in assessing Laboucan’s credibility as a witness.

“The error played an essential part in the reasoning process ... For these reasons, we allow the appeal and order a new trial on the indictment as framed in the Court of Queen’s Bench,” the written decision stated.

Witnesses claimed during the 2007 trial that Laboucan was the ringleader of the violent murder. The group allegedly lured Courtepatte and a friend from West Edmonton Mall with a promise of a bush party. When they arrived, the 13-year-old was allegedly raped multiple times, stabbed, and beaten to death with a sledgehammer.

Laboucan claimed he was unaware the party was a ruse, and has maintained his innocence since his arrest.

Defence lawyer Laurie Wood said yesterday that she is thrilled with the decision.

“In the interest of justice, I think that this is a good day,” she said. “I never saw a side of (Laboucan) that was anything less than polite, soft-spoken, gentle and never saw a violent side to him.”

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