DNA matched accused: sex assault trial

The chances that DNA from semen found on the clothes of a sexual assault victim belonged to anyone but the accused are about 12 billion to one, court heard on Thursday.

The chances that DNA from semen found on the clothes of a sexual assault victim belonged to anyone but the accused are about 12 billion to one, court heard on Thursday.

Justice Monica Bast heard that DNA testing was performed at the Edmonton RCMP crime lab. A team of forensic scientists assisted in the identification of blood and fluids found on the 87-year-old victim during an examination by a doctor at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

Jesse Peter Toews, 26, of Red Deer is charged with aggravated sexual assault, robbery and unlawful confinement in connection with an incident on July 29, 2009, near a grocery store in North Red Deer. He is on trial in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench this week.

Janice Lyons, an expert in the analysis and interpretation of DNA typing profile at the crime lab, testified the semen and a blood sample taken from the accused after his arrest were a match.

The chances of anyone else in the Canadian Caucasian population having the same DNA as Toews are one in 12 billion, Bast heard.

Lyons said once the match occurred, a statistical analysis was performed to determine the probability that the sample of physical evidence came from another person with the same DNA profile as the suspect’s.

“These calculations are based on population statistics and genetics,” she said.

DNA typing, or genetic fingerprinting, is a technique employed by forensic scientists to assist in the identification of individuals by their respective DNA profiles.

DNA profiles are encrypted sets of numbers that reflect a person’s DNA makeup, which can also be used as the person’s identifier.

The victim testified earlier that she was attacked from behind and assaulted while on her way to a nearby grocery store.

She said she was attacked on a secluded path in a bushy area just west of Gaetz Avenue and north of 67th Street. She said she never saw her attacker’s face.

The woman’s purse was taken, as was more than $100 in cash from a pocket.

She suffered a large gash on the right side of the back of her head that required stitches. She also suffered numerous cuts and bruises.

Dr. Katherine Atchison, who examined the victim, said she found bruising and a cut in the pubic area.

She said she found blood and semen on the woman’s underpants.

“She was very stoic but became upset when I told her she had been sexually assaulted,” the doctor told Crown prosecutor Anders Quist.

Defence lawyer Arnold Piragoff told court he didn’t think the case would end today as scheduled.

Toews remains in custody.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com