Trial of man accused of raping, trying to kill his niece will continue
Published Monday, April 25, 2016 12:23PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, April 25, 2016 8:46PM EDT
The trial of a man accused of raping and trying to murder an 11-year-old girl in St. Laurent will continue despite police destroying the majority of the physical evidence in the case.
In her ruling, delivered Monday at the Montreal courthouse, the judge agreed police made a mistake, but said it was not enough to stop the trial.
The case involves a 44-year-old man and his 11-year-old niece who was found behind her house with a skipping rope around her neck.
Halfway through trial, the defence learned police had destroyed the rope, as well as clothes, blood samples and other DNA evidence. The police officer who was in charge of the evidence claims it was a human error – he mixed up the evidence with evidence from another case which was set to be destroyed.
Attorneys for the accused then requested all charges be dropped.
The prosecution argued that while police made a mistake, the destroyed evidence wouldn't be enough to affect the outcome of the trial.
In her ruling, Judge Sylvie Kovacevich said investigators analyzed the evidence before destroying it, which was not contested by the defence. She said nothing else could be learned from the lost items, thus the trial can proceed.
Defence attorney Sharon Sandiford said she is focusing on finishing the trial but if found guilty, an appeal citing the decision would be likely.
"I'm a little bit in shock. For me the behaviour was so overt, I mean it's not a slight case, we're talking about numerous items. One or two items I can undertand a judgment like that, but numerous items, in our society people may feel a bit shorted by the answer of the judge," she said.