Man found not guilty of 2016 Kamloops hit and run, despite DNA connection - InfoNews

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Man found not guilty of 2016 Kamloops hit and run, despite DNA connection

July 10, 2020 - 3:20 PM

A man tied to a 2015 hit and run by DNA evidence has been found not guilty in Kamloops Supreme Court.

The family of the woman injured in the hit and run gathered in the courtroom today, July 10, to hear Supreme Court Justice Leonard Marchand read his decision.

On August 29, 2016 the woman was jogging along Athabasca Road with a friend. A car came up from behind and struck her, causing a moderate traumatic brain injury and a fractured leg, ankle, skull and vertebrae.

A stolen vehicle was later found abandoned and had significant damage to the hood and windshield, RCMP said at the time. DNA was found on the steering wheel and in a ball cap within the vehicle, which was found relatively close to the site of the accident.

Joshua Joseph Pooli, born 1990 was arrested in Prince George March of 2019 after his DNA was entered into the court system, which linked him to the car that hit the jogger. He faced charges of failure to stop at an accident with a person, dangerous driving causing bodily harm and possession of stolen property under $5,000.

“Only Mr. Pooli’s DNA was found on the steering wheel which supports the inference that he was the last driver of the vehicle… despite all the evidence looking at Mr. Pooli, the evidence and absence of evidence leave open other reasonable possibilities,” Marchand says.

“The fact that only Mr. Pooli's DNA was found on the steering wheel is telling, it seems fairly clear that someone wiped down the steering wheel after it was stolen and before Mr. Pooli touched the steering wheel, otherwise the owner’s DNA would’ve been found on the steering wheel as well,” Marchand says.

“It seems likely that the person who wiped down the steering wheel was not Mr. Pooli. After all, who would go to the effort of destroying forensic evidence by wiping down the steering wheel only to subsequently return the forensic evidence by then touching the steering wheel? Clearly, it’s reasonably possible that someone other than Mr. Pooli was driving the stolen car.”

Marchand concluded Pooli likely left his DNA in the vehicle when he looked inside for valuables. Given that Pooli was poking around in a car that wasn’t his, Marchand believes he left in a rushed fashion and forgot his ball cap.

Fingerprints on the top of the stolen car were matched to another man and police interviewed him as a witness while understanding that he may incriminate himself. Marchand says that due to police oversight, they initially interviewed the wrong man, creating a “large gap” in the evidence obtained by police.

Marchand notes neither the victim nor the friend she was running with was unable to see who was driving the vehicle or how many people were in the car when the accident occurred.

Marchand found Pooli not guilty on all counts as there was not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he had committed the crime.

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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