Not guilty verdict in Bermuda attempted murder case in which PFS’ Angela Shaw provided crucial GSR evidence

In News by Forensic Analysts

Blaine Simmons, 20, charged with shooting a man in Somerset, Bermuda, has been found not guilty by a jury after a three week trial at the Supreme Court in Bermuda.

Mr Simmons had denied attempting to murder Lo’Torean Durrant, 23, and using a firearm to commit an indictable offence in the incident on March 19, 2013.
The verdict comes almost a year to the day after a previous trial for the same incident concluded with a hung jury.

Angela was instructed by Mr Simmons’ defence team to review the GSR findings in the case and was called to provide expert oral testimony at both trials in Bermuda. The expert for the Prosecution reported finding a single particle of GSR on Mr Simmons’ mobile phone. They also reported finding one and two-component GSR particles, also known as ‘indicative’ GSR particles on Mr Simmons’ skin surfaces, clothing, boots, a visor he was carrying, a towel and a vehicle in which he travelled that evening.

In Angela’s expert opinion the indicative GSR particles could have originated from many common environmental sources and therefore it could not be said that they originated from a firearm. In respect of the single GSR particle – Mr Simmons’ was arrested by armed police offices who handled the phone before it was placed into an exhibit bag. It was discovered before the retrial that standard quality control procedures had not been followed when the phone was sampled at the police laboratory thereby there was a risk the phone was contaminated at this stage. A very small survey conducted in preparation for the retrial of various police environments including the Supreme Court found a single particle of GSR in the waiting area of Hamilton Police Station. It would have been therefore unsafe to conclude that the particle found on Mr Simmons’ phone originated from somewhere other than one of the sources mentioned above.

Link to The Royal Gazette article:

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