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DNA matching victim’s found on Phillip Levac’s bedding: forensic expert

DNA matching victim’s found on Phillip Levac’s bedding: forensic expert
WATCH: A forensic DNA specialist took the stand in the Phillip Levac sex assault trial, testifying that DNA matching the victim's was found in Levac's bedding.

In the final days of the trial for Phillip Levac, who is accused of having sex with a 14-year-old girl, court heard from a forensic DNA specialist, Jason Solinski.

Levac, 32, is charged with two counts of sexual assault and two counts of sexual interference stemming from two separate incidents in April 2018.

The victim, who is now 15 years old, cannot be named under a publication ban.

Solinski, who works for the RCMP National Forensic Laboratory Services in Edmonton, is the Crown’s final witness.

READ MORE: Regina court hears accused’s side in sex assault trial, teenage victim cross examined

On Thursday, he testified before the judge that DNA matching the victims’ was found on Levac’s bed sheet and comforter that had been seized by Regina police.

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Solinski said how and when the DNA got there can’t be proven with certainty.

Levac’s DNA along with blood stains and unconfirmed traces of semen were also on the bedding.

Although he couldn’t put a probability to it, Solinski said, in his professional opinion, the blood came from the teenage victim. However, there was a trace of an unidentifiable person’s DNA found near the blood.

READ MORE: Teenage victim testifies in alleged sexual assault case in Regina

The defence argued that a person could be the source of the blood, not the victim.

There are a lot of scenarios at play.

The defence argued the teen’s DNA could have been transferred from a sweaty gym towel or gym clothes that were thrown onto Levac’s bed.

Earlier in the trial, both sides said Levac and the teen met at the weight room in the Fieldhouse and Lawson Aquatic Centre, where Levac trained her on several occasions.

It is possible the victim’s DNA was transferred onto Levac’s clothing or towel through her sweat or skin cells, according to Solinski.

READ MORE: Regina police charge man at high risk to reoffend with sexual assault

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While Solinski said he “can’t eliminate that as a possibility,” he said that doesn’t seem to fit the evidence presented.

“That’s not the result I would expect, if that was the case,” Solinski said. “Wiping sweat off a machine and then putting that towel on the bed … doesn’t seem to match the relativity constant picture.”

Less and less DNA is transferred as it moves from surface to surface, according to Solinski. In those cases, he said that makes it harder to match the DNA to a specific person’s profile. But that wasn’t the case when he was able to match the DNA with the victim’s profile.

When questioned by the Crown, Solinski said the DNA findings could also be consistent with sexual intercourse between Levac and the victim.

READ MORE: Regina police investigating after man convicted of sex assault appears on dating app

“There are too many factors for me to make any concrete conclusions,” Solinski said.

Forensics conducted DNA testing on two vaginal swabs taken from the victim. Solinksi said neither swab tested positive for male DNA, therefore the lab did not do a separate test to look for traces of Levac’s semen.

The vaginal swabs were taken from the teen on April 19, 2018, four days after the second alleged sex assault.

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“By in large, the chances are greater that we probably wouldn’t find anything three or four days later,” Solinski said.

The trial resumes at 10 a.m. Friday. Levac is expected to take the stand.