Defense argues no solid ID for Kamloops man accused of robbery, shooting innocent man through wall | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Defense argues no solid ID for Kamloops man accused of robbery, shooting innocent man through wall

March 09, 2020 - 2:30 PM

Someone robbed a Kamloops addict while he was buying heroin, beat him with a pistol and accidentally fired that gun through the wall, hitting someone next door. The question for 12 jurors in Kamloops Supreme Court is if the Crown has proven the robber was Bradley John Hartling.

Crown lawyer Tim Livingston admitted in closing arguments today, March 9, jurors will have trouble making that determination from witness testimony because several told lies in their evidence and all were steeped in the local drug scene, with some of them facing charges of their own.

But Livingston told jurors they should focus on a surveillance video from Nov. 4, 2017, in apartment 105 at 805 Holt St.

“This video is a very objective historian of what happened in unit 105 on Nov. 4,” Livingston said. “Evidence points to Mr. Hartling as the person that robbed Mr. Haynes.”

That day, witness Brett Haynes was at the apartment of Matthew Carstairs, his heroin dealer. During the trial, Haynes watched a surveillance tape of himself and his then-girlfriend sitting on a couch, speaking with Carstairs when a man entered the residence, asked for keys and struck Haynes in the face with something that he said made a “bang.”

An innocent man in the neighbouring apartment was shot in the hand as a result of the incident.

The Crown said the man responsible is Hartling, who is on trial for six charges, including assault with a weapon, careless use or storage of a firearm, pointing a firearm, committing a robbery where a firearm is used and uttering threats.

The Crown asked the jury to consider two points: Did the fourth person in the video carry a gun? And was that person was Bradley Hartling?

The Crown relied on police examination for evidence of the first question. Police said the gun was fired through the couch where Haynes was sitting, traveled through the wall and into the neighbouring apartment. Couch padding was found within the wall separating the two units.

Livingston also suggested that evidence pointed to Hartling as the assailant, although defence says it’s nearly impossible to positively identify him as the suspect.

Neither Haynes, nor his girlfriend saw the attacker because they were turned away. In the video, the attacker asked for keys, and Haynes handed over the keys to his aunt’s GMC Envoy.

The GMC Envoy was found two days after the incident, and the Crown noted that a female witness claimed to have picked Hartling up that morning a short distance from where the vehicle was later found.

Hartling’s defence lawyer Lisa Scruton says the woman's testimony should be questioned because she wasn’t sure on the pick-up time and has a history of drug abuse, in addition to the fact Hartling was living at her house with her parents and she wanted him gone.

“She said she was angry with Hartling,” Scruton said. “Why would she do any favours for someone she wanted to get away from?”

In the video, Haynes' then-girlfriend asked if the man was Bradley Hartling, to which Carstairs answered yes.

Scruton says there is no merit to Carstairs’ identification in the surveillance video because later in court he would not identify the man. She noted he has 26 previous criminal charges and faces outstanding charges.

“Mr. Carstairs is not a man to be trusted. He lied directly to you,” Scruton says.

She noted how Carstairs twice lied under oath, once relating to a gun seen in the video laying on a bed, and another time to selling heroin. He first denied both and later changed his answers when questioned.

Scruton made it known to the jury that multiple witnesses called into the courtroom were ‘unsavoury’ and ‘untrustworthy.’ Many who were called in had previous or current drug use problems and sometimes couldn’t remember specific details on the days around the incident.

“There simply isn’t sufficient evidence,” Scruton said.

Scruton suggested Carstairs had arranged a robbery on Haynes, and initially answered yes on Hartling’s involvement due to personal matters between the two.

At the time, Carstairs was dating Hartling’s sister. The defence said that fact, paired with the prohibited firearm and other illegal materials found in the residence, led Carstairs to answer ‘yes’ to Hartling’s involvement to help protect himself. He did not identify Hartling while in the courtroom. The Crown said that’s because of a code among criminals.

“Mr. Carstairs cannot be trusted because of his own motive,” Scruton says.

Scruton encouraged the jury to find Hartling not guilty on all counts because of reasonable doubt about identification.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 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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