Trio acquitted due to what judge deems shoddy police work

RCMP from Barriere and Clearwater launched an investigation after two cars sped past a police vehicle on Highway 5

Tim Petruk – Kamloops This Week

Citing police work she said “defies any reasonable explanation,” a Kamloops judge has acquitted on all counts a trio of men facing more than a dozen firearm- and property-related charges.

William Hill, Mark Pauls and Andrew Shreenan were arrested on May 4 after being found hiding beneath fallen trees in a wooded area near Little Fort, a community an hour north of Kamloops on Highway 5 North.

The three men had been in custody since their arrest.

During a B.C. Supreme Court trial in December, court heard Mounties from Barriere and Clearwater launched an investigation after two cars sped past a police vehicle on Highway 5 North near Little Fort and took off at speeds reaching 150 km/h.

Police lost track of the vehicles and officers began to look for them on logging roads and turnoffs.

About an hour later, an officer found two cars on a trail off a logging road. One of them was rammed by an unmarked RCMP SUV and three men — Hill, Pauls and Shreenan — ran from the vehicles into the woods.

When they were found, four hours later, the men were wet and shivering. It had been raining in the area, but they told police they were fishing when they fell out of a canoe and into a nearby lake.

In the vehicles, police found two shotguns — one of them stolen — ammunition, a white powder and drug paraphernalia.

Based on distinct clothing seen in a dash-cam recording, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Sheri Donegan found that the men were the same trio that fled police.

But she failed to convict them on any of the 14 charges they had been facing, based on the argument of defence lawyers Sheldon Tate, Brad Smith and Eric Rines.

Donegan said she suspects the men were guilty, but she could not convict them because of sloppy police work.

“None of the items were forensically tested,” Donegan said, adding that the white powder was also never analyzed to determine if it was a drug. “In a procedure that defies any reasonable explanation, the police officers removed items [from the vehicles] and placed them on the grass and dirt outside the Clearwater [RCMP] detachment to photograph them.”

Donegan noted the shotguns were never tested for fingerprints or DNA, nor were various other items found in the vehicles.

Donegan said there is no evidence proving any of the men had possession of anything in the vehicles or the vehicles themselves — one of which was stolen.

“Why none of these tests were performed has not been explained,” she said.

“Suspicion falls short of proof that is required. . . . There is no forensic evidence tying any of the three accused to the items.”

 

 

Just Posted

Volunteer Fire Brigade continues slow, steady growth

Group is holding a raffle to raise money to better equip its members

Snowmobile club gets funding for approaching season

Money will go toward summer trail maintenance and website upgrades

Another week of adventure

Forty-two youth from Clearwater, along with youth visiting from out of town, enjoy week of events

Affordable housing project sees completion

“We’re pleased we’re going to be starting off with pretty much full occupancy.”

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has little expectations of a unified front from the leaders

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

UPDATE: Crown cross-examines B.C. father accused of killing daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Most Read