Witness inconsistencies addressed at Gerald Stanley’s murder trial

Click to play video: 'Crown rests cases against Gerald Stanley in shooting death of Colten Boushie' Crown rests cases against Gerald Stanley in shooting death of Colten Boushie
WATCH ABOVE: The Crown wrapped up its case against Gerald Stanley, accused of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Colten Bushie. Ryan Kessler with the details – Feb 2, 2018

The Crown is expected to conclude its case Friday after going through the bulk of its evidence on week one of the Gerald Stanley second-degree murder trial in the death of Colten Boushie.

Stanley has pleaded not guilty in the death of the 22-year-old on Aug. 9, 2016 after an SUV with Boushie and four other young people from the Red Pheasant First Nation drove onto Stanley’s property.

READ MORE: Conflicting witness testimony at Gerald Stanley’s murder trial

Firearms Expert Greg Williams Continues Testifiying

The first witness to take the stand Friday was firearms expert Greg Williams.

He had testified the previous day that he couldn’t determine why one cartridge casing had a bulge in it that was found on-scene and that Stanley’s Tokarev pistol couldn’t fire without pulling the trigger.

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Gerald Stanley’s Tokarev handgun. Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench

During cross-examination Williams was asked by defence lawyer Scott Spencer to describe in more detail the casing with the bulge.

Williams told court it stuck out approximately 2 to 3 millimetres and there’s no way to measure the pressurization inside the cartridge at the lab; that would be more in line with what a manufacturer would look for.

Casing with bulge entered as evidence at the Gerald Stanley murder trial. Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench

READ MORE: Gerald Stanley’s son describes night Colten Boushie shot

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Williams also testified that the deformed casing from the dashboard was the only one he saw in that condition. He received a total of 80 bullets for testing along with Stanley’s Tokarev handgun.

One of the theories for the bulged casing is a “mechanical malfunction,” said Williams; two reasons for this would be that the handgun was broken or was missing parts.

Upon inspection of the handgun, it wasn’t broken or missing pieces – Williams told court while he couldn’t rule out a mechanical malfunction from the pistol, there was no evidence to support this theory.

In one of Williams’ tests, a cartridge stayed jammed in the handgun and didn’t shoot, which is known as a misfire.

In his expert opinion, there was no evidence of a trigger disconnect malfunction which was described as when you pull the trigger and nothing fires.

Firearms expert Greg Williams speaks in court during the trial of Gerald Stanley in this courtroom sketch in North Battleford, Sask., on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. Cloudesley Rook-Hobbs

Another theory behind the bulge, Williams told court, was there may have been grime in the barrel of the gun.

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READ MORE: Emotions high as 1st witness testifies at Gerald Stanley’s murder trial

He also investigated whether obstructing the rearward motion of the slide could create a deformed cartridge casing.

A final theory known as a hang fire was explored, where a person pulls the trigger and there is a prolonged pause then the bullet fires. Williams told court on Thursday he has never experienced this in his entire career.

Williams also told court that the ammunition appeared to be “surplus military” from 1953 in Czechoslovakia.

He raised concerns about quality of the ammunition both the age and the way it was stored as factors; keeping it in a shed would make it more likely to rust.

Defence attorney Scott Spencer listens in court during the trial of Gerald Stanley in this courtroom sketch in North Battleford, Sask., on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. Cloudesley Rook-Hobbs

During cross-examination, Williams was asked if it’s best to test a bullet from the same box as the one that misfired.

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Williams told court not necessarily, provided they have the same composition and that there’s not a lot of forensic analysis that can happen on a misfired bullet.

Misfires, said Williams, are not uncommon when using older ammunition.

Williams testified that one researcher who shot millions of cartridges over 40 years experienced “a few hang fires,” with the longest lasting about a quarter of a second.

He stated that studying the misfired cartridge would not aid in his investigation as to whether a hang fire had occurred.

“There is a lot of lore about hang fires,” said Williams adding on the stand that empirical, scientific research is his preferred source for information.

Chief Justice Martel Popescul Addresses Witness Inconsistency

Before Williams continued his testimony, Chief Justice Martel Popescul gave the 12 jurors instructions on how to handle certain aspects of the proceedings.

Chief Justice Martel Popescul during the trial of Gerald Stanley in this courtroom sketch in North Battleford, Sask., on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. Cloudesley Rook-Hobbs

Popescul’s mid-trial instructions to the jury came after a day in which some witnesses to the killing admitted on the stand that they made last-minute changes to their stories and lied to investigators.

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“Common sense tells you that if a witness says one thing in the witness box, but has said something quite different on an earlier occasion, this may reduce the value of his or her evidence,” Popescul told jurors.

Popescul said jurors should consider any explanation the witnesses gave for the differences.

“Consider whether the differences are significant,” he said. “You should also consider the fact, nature and extent of any differences when you decide whether to rely on their testimony.”

With files from The Canadian Press

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