NEWS

Crockwell alleges Mounties took DNA illegally

05/01/2012 11:10 EDT | Updated 07/01/2012 05:12 EDT

The man on trial for charges laid after a weeklong standoff south of St. John's in 2010 has accused the RCMP of taking his DNA illegally.

Leo Crockwell, 57, who has been representing himself at Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador since firing his defence lawyer last week, cross-examined a Mountie who is responsible for exhibits taken during the December 2010 standoff.

Among other things, Const. Kurt Russell on Monday brought in two rifles that police say were taken from Crockwell's family's home. As well, a screen door that had been taken from the back of the house was submitted into evidence.

But Crockwell seemed most interested in something Russell didn't have.

Crockwell said they had illegally seized a pair of his gloves, by removing them without a warrant. The question of legality in the matter has yet to be worked out.

"I suggest that they would be a good source of DNA," Crockwell said.

"It's possible," Russell replied.

Russell was responsible for sending the shells and shotguns off for DNA testing. Since he and another officer had handled them, he included their own samples.

'It could be a typo'

He told the court he sent off 28 in total, and got back 28. But Crockwell pointed out that in his paperwork, the count of samples was 27.

Russell said, "I may have miscounted, or it could be a typo."

Crockwell speculated that the other sample might have been from his gloves.

During the course of the day, the second in which Crockwell has questioned witnesses directly, Justice Richard LeBlanc asked the jury to leave the courtroom several times so that he could explain things to Crockwell.

Before firing his lawyer, the jury was told that Crockwell had fired a shotgun blast into a wall, chased his sister from the home and assaulted her. Crockwell’s mother and sister sought help from a neighbour, who called RCMP, triggering what would turn into a week-long standoff.

Crockwell is being charged on eight counts, most of them weapons charges.

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