Defence argues critical witnesses were absent from Vernon shooting trial - InfoNews

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Defence argues critical witnesses were absent from Vernon shooting trial

FILE PHOTO: Green Valley Motel
February 28, 2017 - 9:00 PM

VERNON - Defence lawyers in a Vernon shooting and attempted murder trial say what really happened that day and who pulled the trigger is unknown because key witnesses were never called to testify by the Crown.

During final arguments in the two-week Supreme Court trial of Jacob Daniel Lowes, defence lawyers Glenn Verdurmen and Paul Danyliu said critical witnesses were absent from the proceedings.

“The victims of any attempted murder are named in the indictment yet these individuals… are not called to give evidence at the trial,” Verdurmen said.

Lowes is accused of attempting to murder Adrian Dziedzic and Robin Rochement with a firearm on Aug. 12, 2014 in Polson Park. Earlier in the trial, Crown counsel said Dziedzic and Rochement attempted to rob a room at the Green Valley Motel and were chased by Lowes into Polson Park after the robbery went south.

A number of witnesses were called to testify, including civilian witnesses, police officers, and the manager of the motel. But court never heard from Dziedzic or Rochement.

Verdurmen said the evidence that would have been garnered from these two men if they had testified is critical.

“There is no explanation offered to the court by Crown as to why these individuals were not called as part of the Crown’s case to establish the identity of the person alleged to have discharged a firearm at them,” Verdurmen said.

He argued the missing testimony left gaps in the Crown’s case that made it impossible to identify Lowes as the shooter. He offered an alternative that it was another man known to live at the unit in question, who was the shooter. That individual was also not brought to court to testify.

The shoot-out happened during morning rush hour traffic downtown Vernon, and parts of the incident were witnessed by civilians in the area. None identified Lowes as the person running in and out of Polson Park the day of the shooting, Verdurmen said.

Crown counsel Jeremy Guild said in earlier proceedings that Lowes was involved in the drug trade and chased the robbers to “show them he would stand up to intimidation to protect his business” after the attempted robbery. Guild said one of Lowes’ cellmates told police the accused said he threw a handgun into a creek near the park. Officers later located a Colt .45 handgun in the creek that matched the shell casings in Polson Park. The Crown also entered video surveillance footage from around the motel and a corner store allegedly placing Lowes in the area around the time of the offence.

Following final arguments from Crown and defence on Monday, Feb. 27, Justice Peter Rogers reserved his verdict for a later date.

Rochemont and Dziedzic were ordered to stand trial together following a preliminary inquiry into the shootout last year. They both face firearms-related charges. One of Rochemont's five charges is discharging a prohibited or restricted firearm at Jacob Lowes, with intent to wound, maim or disfigure, or to endanger his life. 

Dziedzic faces two charges, including carrying a shotgun for a purpose dangerous to the public peace or for the purpose of committing an offence. 

Lowes recently pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm for punching another inmate in jail.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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