Paul Trevor Calnen was convicted by a jury of second-degree murder in the death of Reita Louise Jordan in March 2013.
The Hammonds Plains, N.S., man pleaded guilty to burning her body and scattering her ashes in a lake, but maintained he did not cause her death.
The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal tossed the murder conviction due to insufficient evidence and inadequate final instructions to the jury.
But in a dissenting decision, then-Chief Justice Michael MacDonald concluded there was sufficient evidence for the jury to decide on a second-degree murder charge.
The couple had argued at Calnen’s home, and he claimed Jordan died after she took a swing at him in anger, missed and accidentally fell down the stairs.
Calnen had been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 15 years for the second-degree murder conviction, which was set aside after the appeal court decision.