EVIDENCE - Methods of proof - Scientific evidence - DNA

Law360 Canada (April 27, 2023, 6:18 AM EDT) -- Appeal by Bakal from conviction for firearm offences, breach of undertaking and breach of firearm prohibition; motion for leave to appeal his sentence and introduce fresh evidence. Bakal was charged with various drug trafficking offences and possession of the proceeds of crime but was acquitted because there was no evidence of hand-to-hand transactions. He was also charged with careless storage of a firearm, possession of a prohibited firearm without being the holder of a licence, possession of a prohibited firearm knowingly while not being the holder of a licence, possession of a loaded prohibited firearm, breach of a firearm prohibition, and breach of an undertaking. The Ottawa Police Service conducted a drug investigation targeting Bakal and a co-accused. Inside the townhouse, police found a large quantity of illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, several cellphones, $525, a backpack with ammunition and a loaded silver Ruger handgun. Some of the pertinent evidence against Bakal in respect of the gun-related offences that were the subject of this appeal included the following: he was apprehended near the second-floor balcony that was close to the second-floor laundry room; a loaded handgun was found in a pile of laundry in the laundry room, most of which was Bakal’s laundry; the backpack found in the living room which contained ammunition, bullets and government letters addressed to Bakal; and, at least 70 per cent of the DNA on the handgun grip belonged to Bakal. On appeal, Bakal claimed the verdict was unreasonable, that the trial judge failed to apply the R. v. W.(D) test in her assessment of the evidence and she failed to apply the principles articulated in R. v. Villaroman. Bakal sought to introduce fresh evidence from his co-accused, Yusuf, and his former girlfriend, Marks, to address the reliability of the verdict. The trial judge imposed a sentence of 4 years and 51 days (the sentence for the gun-related offences was 3.5 years). On his sentence appeal, Bakal claimed that the sentence was imposed without consideration for the totality principle and was not sufficiently reduced for time spent on strict bail or to account for anti-Black racism....
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