Montreal attempted murder trial in jeopardy / Police destroy evidence

This is why the destruction of evidence in 40 year old cold-cases is relevant to today. First the Surete du Quebec and Longueuil forces, now the Montreal police. If you don’t hold them accountable, then don’t expect them to change:

Trial for sexual assault and attempted murder of a minor in jeopardy?

Paul Cherry, Montreal Gazette: March 18, 2016

scales-of-justice-image-for-extra-story-about-violence-againA Quebec Court judge will decide in April if a case involving the sexual assault and attempted murder of an 11-year-old girl should be tossed out because the Montreal police made a huge error by destroying evidence during the trial. 

The accused is a 44-year-old resident of the St-Laurent borough who was charged in 2013 with sexually assaulting and attempting to kill the 11-year-old victim. The man was a close friend to the victim’s family and, at the time, lived next door to them. She considered him to be like an uncle to her and he cannot be identified because it could be considered information that would identify the victim. 

The man is alleged to have used a skipping rope, on May 26, 2013, to strangle the girl inside her own home while she was watching television. She passed out and later woke up in an alley near her home. Her clothes were torn, her nose and hands were bloodied and the skipping rope was still wrapped around her neck. She sought help at the home of a neighbour who refused to do anything but was able to make it to the home of a friend. The girl’s mother showed up at the friend’s house a short while later and called 911. The girl told the 911 operator that a man who lived next door to her family tried to kill her and then she identified him as the accused who is currently on trial.

Quebec Court Judge Sylvie Kovacevich began hearing evidence in the trial at the Montreal courthouse on Feb. 16, 2015, and it continued on for several non-consecutive days. The Crown finished presenting its evidence last fall but defence lawyer Sharon Sandiford filed a motion after learning that a Montreal police officer somehow destroyed evidence – the skipping rope and a piece of clothing the girl was wearing the day she was attacked – while the case was at the trial stage. Sandiford asked for a stay of proceedings while arguing her client can’t mount a full and complete defence without having access to the evidence.

On Friday, Kovacevich was expected to render her decision on the stay of proceedings but she informed both sides in the case that she needed more time. She pushed back the date of her decision to April 25 and said she wants both sides to prepare for the trial to resume that same day if she rejects Sandiford’s motion. 

When she argued in support of her motion Sandiford argued that the destruction of the evidence was a an example of gross negligence. When prosecutor Pierre Olivier Bolduc argued against the stay of proceedings he based much of what he said as if Sandiford was claiming an abuse of procedure on the part of the police – or that they intended to destroy the evidence. Kovacevich noted this on Friday and suggested much of Bolduc’s argument was based on a moot point. She offered the prosecutor a chance to correct this but he said the prosecution had nothing further to add. 

“The Crown argued a lot on something that isn’t even an issue,” Sandiford told reporters after the brief hearing. 

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