An Abbotsford man has been found guilty and sentenced to just under three years in prison in the case of a May 2014 robbery at a Penticton pharmacy at the end of a three-day B.C. Supreme Court trial.
Shayne Daniel Duncan McGenn was charged with one count each of robbery, disguising face with intent to commit an offence and using an imitation firearm when committing an indictable offence from a May 22, 2014 incident at the Medicine Shoppe in Penticton.
An emotional McGenn declined to offer a statement to Justice Alison Beame as she prepared to hand down the sentence, which came with a joint submission immediately after McGenn’s guilty verdict. For the robbery and disguising his face, McGenn got four years, plus another year for the involvement of a weapon.
McGenn has 25 months of enhanced credit for time served, making his remaining sentence two years and 11 months.
McGenn is also facing second-degree murder charges following the 2016 death of David Delaney in Abbotsford, for which he is scheduled to stand trial on Monday in New Westminster’s B.C. Supreme Court chambers.
The trial heard a man with a backpack had entered the store on May 22, 2014, wearing a black baseball hat with a white skull on it, sunglasses, a black-and-white bandana over his face and a grey sweater.
With a “revolver-type” gun, one victim said the man demanded drugs from the narcotics safe and cash from the register, before making off out the back door.
The Crown’s case rested heavily on DNA found on a hat and a bandana found in an alley near the pharmacy, which matched descriptions provided by two women working in the pharmacy at the time of the robbery.
In particular, the DNA found on the hat included one complete genetic profile and one incomplete profile. The complete profile matched both the DNA found on the bandana, which also matched the DNA of McGenn, and expert testimony at the trial said finding another match of that DNA among the Caucasian population is one in 130 trillion.
McGenn was not charged until about a year-and-a-half after the incident, when he was arrested in December 2016 on second-degree murder charges stemming from the death of David Delaney earlier that year. After he was arrested on the murder charges, a DNA sample was taken and he was found to have matched that found on the hat and bandana.
The defence case attempted to cast doubt on that evidence, saying some aspects of the circumstances did not make sense.
McGenn claimed an alibi, saying he was at a work meeting the day of the robbery, but Beames found McGenn’s coworker who sometimes drove him to work and his boss did not provide convincing testimony. The judge also took aim at McGenn’s own testimony, finding him to be sometimes self-contradictory.
Defence lawyer Don Skogstad also attempted to challenge descriptions of the robber by the victims by comparing them with McGenn’s current appearance, but Beames shot that down in trial.
Skogstad’s two major pieces of evidence: the first being that the robber knew details of one victim’s life — particularly that one victim had horses and a brother. But Beames bought Swanson’s explanation that the planning of the robbery likely involved finding information about the victim to use to maintain her silence about the robbery.
Skogstad also asked the judge to take into account the size of the hat as it was found at the scene — it did not fit McGenn’s head, though it did fit after it was adjusted to be larger. Skogstad said it would be irrational to believe a man running from a robbery adjusted the hat before tossing it in the alley.
Skogstad also suggested the Crown’s case was attempting to shift the onus of proof onto the defence by emphasizing the DNA case.
“If the accused cannot be disbelieved, or it raises a reasonable doubt, it should not go any further to look at how strong the Crown’s case can be,” he said. “They’re doing backwards presumption of innocence. They’re saying ‘you can’t talk your way out of this no matter what you say, what you do, because man, there’s one piece of evidence that is irrebuttable.’”
But Beames countered that the evidence of the defence must be weighed against the strength of the Crown’s evidence, rather than be viewed in isolation. While Swanson admitted the issue of the hat’s size was “troubling,” Beames ultimately bought his DNA evidence over the issue of the hat size.
“For the accused’s evidence to be correct, that bandana must have been worn by the one in 130 trillionth other person in Penticton whose hat just happens to have his DNA profile,” Swanson said in his closing remarks prior to the verdict. “In my submission, that just boggles common sense.”