A forensic identification expert said cyclist Paul Bally’s bike helmet, jacket and bike were all in “probable contact” with the vehicle belonging to the man facing two charges in relation to the Courtenay school teacher’s death.
Tuesday morning, Charmaine Lee appeared by video and told court she specializes in the identification of physical matching of paint, plastic and polymers, and tested three different pairs of trace evidence to determine a similarity of sources.
The evidence included Bally’s bike helmet to paint shavings, the frame of his bike to grey plastic from the truck and paint smears on the cycling jacket to paint shavings from the hood of the vehicle.
Timothy Prad, 57, is in the sixth day of the eight-day provincial court trial at the Courtenay courthouse. He pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving causing death, and failure to stop at an accident causing bodily harm in the Dec. 15, 2014 incident in which Bally was struck by a southbound vehicle on Highway 19A near Curran Road in Fanny Bay.
Late Tuesday morning, Crown called its final witness to the stand and asked Judge Peter Doherty to re-enter into the initial voir dire – a series of videos created by the Comox Valley RCMP.
The voir dire is an in-trial hearing that is considered a separate hearing from the trial itself – designed to determine an issue separate from the procedure, or admissibility of evidence.
The videos – created about a month after the fatal incident – were made in conjunction with factors determined from the scene reconstructionist, to have a sense of how Prad’s vehicle may have operated on the roadway, testified Const. Jonathan Grabb earlier in the trial.
Crown attorney John Boccabella argued the video is the best way to capture the nature of the road, its curve in the dark and the rain on the evening of the incident without moonlight.
“What is immediately in front of this truck (right) before impact? That’s what’s very important in this case,” he added, prior to presenting case law to Doherty.
Defence lawyer Doug Marion submitted the video should not be considered because it is imperative the court understand the facts tht are known and sworn in.
“There is no direct evidence of the location of the deceased when he was hit … or the speed he was travelling.”
Marion argued the conditions – particularly weather and certain aspects of the truck used in the re-creation – on the night the video was recorded by police do not match the conditions on the night of Bally’s death.
“Crown cannot tell you with any accuracy that they are replicated … the probative value is outweighed by prejudice.”
Doherty will make a decision on the admissibility of the videos Wednesday. The trial is set to conclude this week.