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Canada's First Mitochondrial DNA trial:

Shannon Murrin has the "honor" of being the only one ever acquitted of murder in Canada despite matching the killer's mitochondrial DNA! 

After Shannon Murrin's trial for the murder of eight year old Mindy Tran, the public was led to believe that the jury had not accepted the DNA results because this was new and untested technology being presented for the first time in Canada. The actual reasons for rejecting the DNA results were far different. The Crown was unable to explain how several differing DNA profiles which were originally found on Mindy's clothes, had turned into one after Sgt. Tidsbury and members of the Crown had personally transported the DNA to England for testing. Why the RCMP and the Crown would even present the evidence in this manner is suspect. It makes the RCMP appear to be framing Murrin. The jury can hardly be blamed for rejecting the DNA results as submitted. The judge in this case placed an unrealistic degree of responsibility on the jury by allowing flawed and conflicting DNA test results to be admitted. The jury was instructed that they had to determine for themselves if the differing DNA results were due to degradation, a determination that could only have been made by scientists. After providing conflicting mitochondrial DNA results, this revelation was followed in the closing days of the trial by an admission from the RCMP that they once had the conclusive nuclear DNA evidence found on Mindy's clothes but had washed the evidence away before any samples could be taken. These actions were obviously going to raise more doubts and the prosecution was instrumental in allowing this to take place. The evidence as presented and lack of any defense for actions implicating the RCMP and the Crown in evidence tampering led to the impression that the RCMP  would do anything to gain a conviction against Murrin at all costs. Murrin's defense could hardly be expected to avoid the implications when the case was being handed to them on a silver platter. The jury was never told that Murrin was an RCMP agent and there fore never knew of an alternative motive for the RCMP to be supplying suspicious and conflicting evidence. RCMP agent Shannon Murrin was acquitted as a result. The following excerpts are from the DNA Results submitted at Shannon Murrin's trial. Supplied by Kathy MacDonald, Murrin's former juror.
Even with all the problems associated with MtDNA John Bark, manager of specialized DNA unit at FSS laboratory in Birmingham, testified that hairs 11,12, and 13 matched Shannon Murrin's hair and only 24 out of 10,000 people would have the same MtDNA profile.

On cross-examination even more problems were revealed. Bark had reversed protocol by testing the known sample first thereby increasing the likelihood of contamination by Shannon's nuclear DNA. Bark explained that Shannon's nuclear DNA was analyzed first because of the urgency of the request. Contamination was present in all the tests and contamination greater than 10% was present in 2 of the 3 tests. There was only enough of hair 11 to produce one test instead of the usual two tests for confirmation purposes. And the nuclear DNA extracted from the root of hair 11 in Canada was a different DNA sequence from that of the shaft. Not only that but a different sequence was arrived at in each of the two tests on hair 11.

The way Bark's figures were arrived at was also strange. The jury was led to believe that Shannon Murrin's MtDNA was rare. The FSS database of 63 people was examined and produced a match. But then other databases were added to the original database to reach a conclusion. The Miller Concordance was examined and it produced another match. Then the results were sent to the FBI for comparison with the SWGDAM database. This database didn't produce a match and Bark concluded that only 24 in 10,000 people would have Shannon Murrin's MtDNA.

On cross-examination, Peter Wilson questioned Bark about the confusing conclusions on hair 11. Bark conceded that it was an impossibility to have one DNA result for the root of hair 11 and another for the shaft but he concluded that contamination was the culprit. Bark based his conclusion on the fact that each hair matched each other and Shannon's DNA.

How could hairs that didn't match each other in Vancouver match each other in England? Given the problems with Tidsbury's investigation why weren't the hairs photographed? Why was Tidsbury allowed to transport them himself? Why was the nuclear DNA extracted from the root of hair 11 in Vancouver different from the shaft? Is it possible that Shannon Murrin's hairs were sent to England instead of the original ones from the Vancouver lab?

see- Full DNA Voir Dire

Or -did some one deliberately skew the results for some other ulterior motive, not to falsely implicate Murrin, but to throw doubt on the findings in order to aid in his acquittal? Note the way the evidence is presented, obviously this was going to raise doubt, not justify a conviction. 
see- cops called liars

Reading between the lines 
Contamination does not entirely explain what happened with the DNA tests. After the DNA tests were completed in England and the results matched only Murrin, his lawyers could and would successfully use this as proof that the RCMP were covering up other suspects and were falsifying evidence in order to frame Murrin for the murder. The contamination claim was successfully challenged by Murrin's defense.
Later news reports added more fuel to the fire
A major DNA lab in England has admitted that one of their employees had been falsifying DNA results!
see- DNA lab fraud

The other possibilities are that either the original results were deliberately falsified (allegedly by contamination) or there actually were other DNA profiles present and there-fore other potential suspects. In addition to the original DNA profiles which have now disappeared, there is new evidence linking an uninvestigated residence where the suspect Shannon Murrin was seen, to other suspects seen with him, including one who is of the same ethnic origin as one of the now missing DNA profiles. If there were other suspects or if Murrin had partners, these are the prime candidates.
see- witness statement

Could the additional DNA profiles originally present, have been those of the people seen with Murrin on the night of the murder? If these people were suspects, why are they not being investigated by the RCMP? If they are witnesses, why have they not come forward? Why are the police not investigating? All of the information contained here is well known to the press and the police. Neither are commenting. 
see- another strange DNA case in which Murrin was a suspect!

Something very strange is going on with this case to say the least, an ominous beginning to DNA trials in Canada. What ever it was that happened to generate the unidentified additional DNA profiles, Murrin was a match to one of the original profiles and he matched the only final result. Others are successfully using these same mitochondrial DNA tests to have their convictions overturned when their DNA does not match. The Canadian Government is stalling on DNA reform for some reason.
see- MP report