Ontario Criminal

DNA Identification


Evidence did not support inference that accused deposited his DNA on shopping bag during robbery

Accused was convicted of robbing bank. Accused submitted trial judge erred by relying entirely on evidence confirming that accused’s DNA was present on plastic shopping bag used in robbery to support finding of guilt in absence of any other evidence linking accused to crime. Accused appealed his conviction. Appeal allowed; conviction set aside; acquittal entered. Verdict was unreasonable. Judge, who saw witnesses and was in best position to assess their evidence, found that only evidence identifying robber was DNA evidence. Generic nature of evidence relied on by Crown was insufficient to support conclusion that accused’s DNA was deposited on plastic bag during robbery. Plastic shopping bags are commonplace, portable, disposable and reusable. In light of these factors, and because of generic nature of eyewitness descriptions relied on by Crown, eyewitness evidence simply did not go far enough to be capable of supporting inference that accused deposited his DNA on shopping bag during bank robbery.

R. v. Ahmed (Dec. 4, 2015, Ont. C.A., Janet Simmons J.A., K. van Rensburg J.A., and M.L. Benotto J.A., File No. CA C60160) 126 W.C.B. (2d) 375.

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