Location: Hamilton Ontario Court of Justice
A Hamilton woman reported that two younger men approached her as she was parking her car. The men demanded that the woman hand over her keys, using a toy gun to intimidate her. The woman did so, and the men forced the woman out of her car. The men then drove off in her car, causing property damage as they left. The car was found by Hamilton Police in a nearby parking lot some time later. Police tested the car for fingerprints and found a full print on the inside of the passenger side window that was traced back to our client.
The main issue was whether the Crown could prove that our client was one of the men in question. The woman had difficulty describing the two men that robbed her, so the strongest piece of evidence tying our client to the crime was the fingerprint on the inside of the passenger window.
Appellate level Caselaw explained that the value of fingerprint evidence in a case depends on the available evidence as a whole. Because there is no way to determine when a fingerprint was left on a surface, there needs to be more evidence in order to convict an accused person.
In this case, a Crown pre-trial was conducted where it was explained that the fingerprint could only show that the client touched the inside of the passenger window at some point in time. The Crown had no other way to prove that it was actually the client who committed the robbery. The judge agreed with counsel and informed the Crown that they had a weak case.
The client was originally facing a penitentiary sentence of two years or more. After hearing counsel’s arguments as well as the judge’s feedback, the Crown agreed to withdraw the charges completely. This was a huge relief for our client, a young person, who was able to move on with his life following the withdrawal of this charge.