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Judge finds Regina man not guilty weapons charge

Accused person's DNA on weapon not grounds enough.

REGINA – A Regina man has been found not guilty in Court of King’s Bench on weapons charges and breach of undertaking, despite his DNA evidence being found on a weapon. The accused appeared before Justice Murray Hinds on Jan. 13, regarding events that took place about 11 months prior.

On Feb. 15, 2022, police searched a residence on Regency Crescent, discovering multiple weapons and ammunition. A total of three occupants were arrested as a result.

A sawed-off rifle found at the scene was believed to have belonged to the accused, and even contained his DNA on the surface. However, as a forensic specialist discovered, it contained 95 per cent of his DNA and five per cent of someone else’s.

Hinds noted in his decision that the accused “was not observed to be manually handling the sawed-off .22 calibre rifle and ammunition in question.” As a result, the task before the Crown prosecutor was to prove he “had knowledge of and a measure of control over” the weapon.

Hinds said in his decision that the Crown was relying on circumstantial evidence that the accused “constructively possessed the .22 sawed-off rifle and ammunition.”

As for the DNA found on the weapon, Hinds noted that it was not clear exactly when or how it got on the rifle, or even how long it had been there - “perhaps one to two years,” referencing a timeframe cited by the forensics expert.

Pinning the accused to the rifle was not something that could be done without reasonable doubt, given the number of individuals residing or visiting the residence, the number of other weapons stored there, and the unknown timeframe at which he handled the item.

Ultimately, Hinds found the man not guilty of possessing the firearm, and therefore not being in breach of the undertaking.

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