Crown says DNA flawed, but Grant guilty

Retrial wrapped up with a surprising admission

Crown says DNA flawed,

but Grant guilty

WINNIPEG — The retrial of a man accused of second-degree murder in the death of a Winnipeg girl more than three decades ago has wrapped up with a surprising admission from the prosecution.

In his closing argument Friday, Crown prosecutor Brent Davidson allowed that some of the DNA evidence against Mark Edward Grant might not be reliable and said Justice Karen Simonsen should not give it any weight.

However, he said other DNA tests showed that 99.9 per cent of the population would have been excluded but Grant was not.

Davidson argued for a guilty verdict, saying Grant had the opportunity and the means to kill 13-year-old Candace Derksen in late 1984.

Defence lawyer Saul Simmonds has argued the DNA samples used against Grant are so tiny as to be infinitesimal, and could be from one of the many people who had visited the industrial shed where the girl’s frozen body was found.

He noted that dozens of people including workers at the industrial site, police officers and others had been in the shed.

Davidson also addressed testimony from Tonia Lachance, the friend of Grant’s ex-girlfriend, who quoted him as saying, “I killed her,” followed later by “No, I didn’t. I’m just kidding.”

Lachance said Grant told her: “Keep your mouth shut or I’ll do to you what I did to Candace.”

The defence has called her unreliable, but the Crown argued she is credible.

“The case of Mark Grant deals with science, it deals with means and opportunities, and deals with admission,” Davidson told court. “Mark Edward Grant is guilty of murdering Candace Derksen and so you should find without a reasonable doubt.”

Simonsen said it may take her months to reach a decision.

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