B.C. judge shocked at handling of corpse by RCMP
The Crown should consider if charges are warranted against the RCMP in Prince George, B.C., after investigators left a dead body overnight at the scene of a killing, a B.C. Supreme Court justice says
"I am quite frankly shocked and astounded," Justice Glen Parrett said, adding he had seen "no evidence whatsoever of a single forensic step being taken the next day with the exception of videotaping the scene."
Parrett made his comments during closing arguments at the manslaughter trial of Patrick Mathewsie.
The man is accused of the killing of Sylvain Victor Roy, whose body was found in an empty, overgrown lot in central Prince George on July 29, 2010.
"I perfectly understand there are times and some situations where there is forensic necessity for doing things in a particular way," Parrett said.
"I've seen some pretty complex investigations that actually went on for days.
"I [don't see the] faintest evidence that happened here."
Parrett has suggested Crown counsel look at sections of the Criminal Code related to indignities to a human body.
He also added he will assist Crown in raising concerns about why the body was left out overnight in the mid-summer heat when police had more than three hours of daylight to deal with it when they first responded to the call.
"What was the question that required him to be left out overnight in July 29 temperatures?" Parrett said.
The judge also said he had viewed the police videotape recorded in the first hours of the investigation and called the scene depicted on the tape "a disgrace."
Testimony contradicted police
Roy had been found with a rope around his neck and Mathewsie passed out beside him with blood on his hands and forearms and one arm resting on a T-shirt covering Roy's face, court was told.
The Crown alleges Mathewsie strangled the victim, then wandered around the site before returning.
However, witnesses testified the man seen wandering had different clothing and did not have the same colour hair as Mathewsie, who was described as a friend of Roy.
Court was told the two men shared a tent while camping in the lot and collected pop bottles together.
There was also testimony that a larger, younger man, who had been acting aggressively, had been seen in the area over the days previous to Roy's death.
Defence lawyer Rob Climie questioned forensic evidence, saying no DNA evidence from Mathewsie was found on the rope or on Roy's knuckles or fingernails.
Parrett also criticized evidence given by an RCMP officer who testified Mathewsie was pretending to be asleep when he was found next to the body.
The judge noted the testimony contradicted details from other officers and ambulance personnel, and ignored the blood alcohol levels of both men, which were in the nearly lethal .350 range.
"The [officer's] evidence is patently wrong in my view and I have looked at that evidence very carefully," Parrett said.
Parrett is scheduled to deliver a verdict on Tuesday morning.