Fate of robbery suspect in hands of Edmonton judge

A Edmonton judge must now decide whether the man who was in court before him during the past week is the same man who robbed a Red Deer bank 14 months ago.

A Edmonton judge must now decide whether the man who was in court before him during the past week is the same man who robbed a Red Deer bank 14 months ago.

Dustin Aaron Clark, 36, has been on trial before Justice Dennis Thomas in the Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench, accused of an armed robbery at the Servus Credit Union’s Taylor Plaza branch on Sept. 13, 2012.

In her final arguments on Friday morning, Crown prosecutor Jillian Brown said Clark should be found guilty on the lesser offence of robbery, because there was no evidence that he actually had a gun.

Defence counsel Andrew Phypers argued that his client should be acquitted because the evidence provided during the trial does not clearly connect him with the offence.

Throughout the trial, Thomas heard that police identified a man nicknamed Lips as the culprit, which led them to investigate Clark.

While the accused man may also be known as Lips, the witnesses who were asked to identify him did not provide sufficient evidence to identify him as the man who committed the robbery, said Phypers.

Brown argued that one of her witnesses, a customer in the branch at the time of the robbery, made very good observations and was later able to pick Clark’s face out of a photo lineup.

Another witness said he clearly recognized the robber photographed by security camera as the man he knows as Lips, said Brown.

Phypers argued that the same witness said one of the faces in the photo lineup bore a resemblance to Lips, but he was not absolutely certain that it was him in the photo.

Phypers then raised questions about the techniques used by the police officer who showed the lineup photos.

“Did he even identify the person who he knew as Lips, or did he just write on the back of the photo what the officer asked him to write?” said Phypers.

He said another of the Crown’s witnesses picked out a completely different person from the photo lineup.

Thomas said after hearing from both lawyers that he would like to have some time to ponder his decision, which he plans to render in Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench later this year.

He adjourned the decision to Dec. 20, stating that it may be brought forward earlier if a date is available.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com