Defence questions forensic evidence choices in Metchosin murder trial

Defence questions forensic evidence choices in Metchosin murder trial
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On Nov. 22, 2022, defence lawyers in the Metchosin murder trial questioned choices police made in collecting forensic evidence.

The defence began their cross-examination today in the trial of the two men who escaped prison at low tide in July of 2019 and are accused of 60-year-old Martin Payne’s murder.

Today, the RCMP forensic expert who placed Zachary Armitage and James Lee Busch inside Payne’s truck and home by their fingerprints was grilled by Armitage’s defence lawyer Jim Heller.

Both Armitage and Busch have pleaded not guilty.

Heller began his line of questioning around Payne’s truck, asking why Cpl. Kim Sarson fingerprinted some items and areas in Payne’s truck while ignoring others, like a scrape on the side of the car, a dirty coffee cup, and candy wrappers.

Multiple times Heller asked Sarson whether police knowledge or their growing theories around Armitage and Busch tainted how she gathered evidence.

Sarson denied those accusations, telling the jury that her role deals with the documentation of evidence only.

Heller also introduced to the jury, through his cross-examination, that DNA labs across Canada are facing long waits, alleging they negotiate with police the number of exhibits they can process.

Sarson said it’s typically more of a conversation of which pieces are best to test.

The cross-examination was similar when it came to Sarson’s investigation of Payne’s home – which Sarson testified – appeared to have no sign of forced entry.

Heller pressed Sarson on her “suspicions” on who was inside Payne’s house, asking Sarson multiple times if she was building a theory for the murder as she was documenting the crime scene.

Sarson gave no such testimony.

Busch’s lawyer is expected to start their cross-examination of Sarson on Wednesday.

Busch’s fingerprints were found on a newspaper inside Payne’s abandoned car. No fingerprints of Busch were found inside Payne’s house.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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