Clothing evidence ruled inadmissible at trial for Harvey Hans' murder
A BC Supreme Court Justice has ruled that certain pieces of evidence are inadmissible in the trial of a man charged with the second-degree murder of Harvey Hans of Abbotsford.
Justice William Grist issued his written ruling Thursday on the voir dire (trial within a trial) in the proceedings for Amrit Gill, 23.
Gill was one of two men charged with the death of 18-year-old Hans, who was fatally stabbed in the neck on May 24, 2008 in front of his family’s home on Ridgeview Drive at about 2 a.m.
Co-accused Shevy Brar, 24, previously pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter and was sentenced in June to five years in prison.
Grist ruled that clothing of Gill’s seized by police several hours after the murder cannot be used as evidence in the trial nor can the DNA analysis of residue found on the items, as they were obtained through breaches of his charter rights.
According to court documents, police seized the items after investigating a disturbance complaint at the Brar family home at 10 a.m. A neighbour reported that an angry man had come to the front door, yelling threats and accusing someone in the home of killing his brother.
The man was gone by the time police arrived, but both Brar and Gill were in the residence, and were questioned separately by police, who were trying to determine why the altercation had taken place.
Police at the scene had also been versed on Hans’ stabbing, and noticed what appeared to be two small spots of blood on Gill’s white track jacket as well as a small cut and a small amount of blood on his hand.
They also noticed a blood-like stain on Brar’s hoodie and a cut on his eye.
The officers contacted their superior and were told that Gill and Brar should be brought to the police station.
The pair were then told they would be transported to the police station for further questioning about the threatening incident at the Brar home. Once there, they were left in the back of separate police cars for an hour.
They then had all their clothes seized and were given coveralls to wear.
Grist declared the clothing as inadmissible because police had not informed the pair that they were being detained for questioning in Hans’ murder and were not given access to a lawyer.
The judge further stated that the stains on Brar’s and Gill’s clothing were not substantial enough to warrant their being seized as evidence, despite the DNA analysis later linking Brar to the crime scene.
“I view the seizure of the accused’s clothing at the police station ... and their being left clothed in paper fabric coveralls to make their way home, as a significant affront to dignity and the accused’s right to privacy,” Grist stated.
Gill’s judge-only trial resumes Aug. 29 at B.C. Supreme Court in Chilliwack.