Sample lost, man refuses second

A man accused of defilement faced a different charge in Summary Court this week — refusing to provide police with a means of identification.

Senior Crown Counsel Andre Mon Desir said the defendant was named last year as the man who defiled a girl, 14.

After his arrest, he allowed his mouth to be swabbed.

The swab was handed over to an officer in the Scenes of Crime Department and it was subsequently misplaced.

Earlier this year, the investigating officer requested a replacement sample. The defendant refused. He said he did not see why he should give one, since he had already given one voluntarily.

Magistrate Nova Hall heard evidence from the investigating officer.

The officer said she had arrested the defendant last year and interviewed him under caution. She agreed that she requested a specimen of his saliva and he provided it.

She later learned that the sample had been lost or misplaced. In July she requested another sample, which he refused to give. She then formally charged him with the offence of refusing.

The defendant cross-examined the officer and asked how something so important and crucial could go missing. She said she didn’t know.

He asked if this was the first time a sample for DNA testing went missing. She said it was, to the best of her knowledge. She did not know about another case he suggested.

The defendant gave evidence and told the court he did not consider he was legally bound to provide another sample after 15 months, with a trial date already set. He did not think he should suffer for the negligence or incompetence of whoever was in charge of his sample.

He suggested that either the sample was not secured properly or the results had come back negative. The inference he drew was that the results were negative.

In her ruling, the magistrate said the burden was on the Crown to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. She accepted the facts as explained. She also accepted the defendant’s belief that some untoward or nefarious action was taken toward his first sample.

But his belief did not provide a defence for refusing to provide the second sample.

She found him guilty and imposed a sentence of one month imprisonment.

The section of the Police Law dealing with identification records refers to persons in lawful custody for any offence punishable by imprisonment, whether the person is convicted or not.

When such a person refuses to submit to the taking of any of the means of identification authorised, he or she is guilty of an offence. The maximum sentence is a fine of $100 and imprisonment for two months.

After conviction, reasonable force may be used to take the means of identification.

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