Crucial Crown evidence ruled out as Dellen Millard’s murder trial nears end

Crucial Crown evidence ruled out as Dellen Millard’s murder trial nears end

TORONTO — A police expert’s testimony suggesting that an aviation executive whose death was initially ruled a suicide could not have killed himself was dismissed Friday as biased and unreliable.

Det. Const. Grant Sutherland, a shooting reconstruction officer with Toronto police, told court last week that after forensic testing he believed it was unlikely Wayne Millard shot himself in the face on Nov. 29, 2012.

Dellen Millard, who has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the shooting death of his 71-year-old father, smiled at the ruling while seated in the prisoner box.

Justice Maureen Forestell ruled Friday that Sutherland’s “opinion on the likelihood of Wayne Millard firing the gun” was inadmissible.

“I have concluded that Det. Const. Sutherland failed to disclose his awareness of evidence that could have undermined his conclusions,” she said.

At issue was blood found on a blanket near Wayne Millard’s feet. Sutherland testified he performed his shooting reconstruction from photographs taken by police at the time of Wayne Millard’s death. The photographs show a pool of blood on the bed near the victim’s head.

Court has heard that the blanket in question was likely pulled down by paramedics who first attended the home the father and son shared in Toronto’s west end.

Sutherland did not mention the blood in his testimony, but under cross-examination from Dellen Millard’s lawyer, he admitted he noticed the blood on the blanket, but made no mention of it in his notes or in his final report.

“Accepting that he knew about this important piece of evidence, and not only failed to mention it, but gave the impression until confronted that it did not exist, raises significant concerns about his ability or willingness to give impartial evidence,” Forestell said.

After the ruling, the Crown closed its case, as did the defence, which chose not to call any witnesses.

The trial, which began on May 31, has heard that Dellen Millard bought the gun that was used to kill his father from a weapons dealer months earlier. Dellen Millard’s DNA was found on the gun along with an unknown DNA profile.

Court also heard that Dellen Millard told his girlfriend he called his dad a failure and the reason behind the financial woes of Millardair — the family-owned aviation company. He also told police that his dad was an alcoholic, depressed and stressed about the company.

The coroner who ruled Wayne Millard’s death a suicide also testified during the trial, standing by his conclusion that there was a “reasonable chance” Wayne Millard killed himself. But he also noted it was possible someone else pulled the trigger.

Dellen Millard, 32, is serving two life sentences for the deaths of Toronto woman Laura Babcock, who was killed five months before Wayne Millard’s death, and Hamilton man Tim Bosma, who was killed five months after.

Both the prosecution and the defence will give their closing arguments Monday at the judge-alone trial.

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

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