WINNIPEG – A retired Winnipeg police officer who took photographs and collected evidence in the shed where Candace Derksen’s body was found testified on day two of the Mark Grant retrial.
Grant has pleaded not guilty to second degree murder in the 1984 killing of Derksen, 13.
He was convicted in 2011 but that conviction was overturned after an appeal.
Retired Sgt. Ronald Allan took the witness stand Tuesday. He was an officer with the Winnipeg Police Identification Unit when Derksen’s body was discovered in January of 1985.
Allan described the body was “frozen stiff” when he first saw it in the corner of the shed. Derksen’s hands and feet were tied with twine.
Her took photos of the body and other items in the shed including shoes and a duffel bag.
He described how he and his partner tried to find fingerprints in the shed but were not successful.
Eventually, he testified they put paper bags over Derksen’s hands, feet and head and moved the body onto a gurney to be taken to the morgue.
Allan faced stiff questions from Grant’s lawyer, Saul Simmonds about whether he could have inadvertently spread DNA at the crime scene.
He admitted, like other officers have before him, that DNA protocols were not in place back in 1985. He says he and his colleagues wore gloves and were careful but didn’t wear masks or bodysuits.
Simmonds suggested it was possible he could have left DNA by something as simple as coughing, sneezing, scratching his face, having a running nose or even talking while standing over the body.
The defence also questioned why it appeared certain items, like a bag of Old Dutch chips, were moved in different photographs.
DNA will play a key role in the case against Grant later in the trial. It was DNA evidence that lead to his arrest in 2007 and several experts are expected to take the stand as witnesses for the prosecution.
The trial is being heard by a judge alone, with no jury, and is slated to last several weeks.