RCMP lost evidence in Prosser murder trial, jury hears

RCMP lost some of their evidence against Fred Prosser, the jury at his murder trial heard on Monday.

Missing for 9 months, found 10 days before trial

RCMP lost some of their evidence against Fred Prosser, the jury at his murder trial heard on Monday.

Prosser, 33, of Shenstone, is charged with first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and sexual assault in the 2010 death of Sabrina Patterson, his ex-girlfriend.

Patterson, a 25-year-old mother of two from Riverview, went missing on Oct. 29, 2010. Her body was discovered eight days later in a wooded area near Shenstone.

Const. Matt Roy, who was in charge of keeping track of the 600 exhibits being stored for Prosser's trial, admitted under cross-examination some of them went missing.

The discovery was made in February and officers conducted an exhaustive search without success, said Roy.

However, the exhibits reappeared just 10 days before the trial began on Nov. 21, he said.

They were located in a secure fridge that had been repeatedly search by police, said Roy. But the exhibits were in a bag and officers had been looking for a box, he said.

The nature of the evidence was not revealed in court, but exhibits seized by police in the case range from blood samples to a pickup truck.

Conducted audit

When police realized some of the evidence was missing, an officer did an audit of every exhibit held by the police force in every case, said Roy.

Then, on June 16, officers went through every fridge and locker, looking for the lost evidence. Every piece of physical evidence was checked by a member of the RCMP to ensure it wasn't the missing evidence, said Roy.

Three days later, the process was repeated by five officers, he said.

The entire building was searched, including members' lockers, Roy said.

May have missed evidence

The Moncton courtroom also heard that RCMP may have missed some of the evidence in the case.

Although officers searched Prosser's family home, two garages and two sheds on Nov. 7, 2010, they only searched the inside of the buildings, not the outside.

Seven months later, during another search, a cooler that contained a jacket with the name Sabrina on the arm, an open purse and a pair of sneakers was discovered outside a garage.

Prosser was originally scheduled to stand trial in Patterson's death in July, but the proceedings were halted on the first day when one of the selected jurors was found to have made comments about the accused on Facebook.

The judge at that time declared a mistrial, saying he had no choice because there was a risk the juror may have tainted the rest of the jury.

The coroner is expected to testify about the autopsy results on Tuesday.

Five weeks have been set aside for the trial. The Crown expects to call about 40 witnesses.