The lawyer for the double-murder suspect Gerald David Benn said Monday there’s no evidence to identify his client as the gunman in the fatal shootings of two Calgary men.
And defense counsel Andrea Urquhart argued even if there was, there’s nothing in the Crown’s case to show the gunman planned the deadly attack and the accused should only have to answer a charge of second-degree murder.
Urquhart made the comments in a directed verdict application before Justice Nick Devlin at the conclusion of the Crown’s case in Benn’s trial on two counts of first-degree murder.
Benn is accused of being the gunman who shot three people inside a parked Nissan Altima in what is believed to have been a drug deal gone wrong.
He is charged in the Aug. 28, 2020 deaths of Abas Ibrahim and Mohamed Shaikh and attempted murder in the shooting of Dimetri Marr.
But Urquhart argued there is no evidence which proves Benn was the gunman caught on security cameras walking up to the Altima and firing at least five shots into the interior before it drove off.
Three bullets hit Shaikh, one hit Marr and one penetrated the chest cavity of Ibrahim, who was able to drive about 100 to 150 meters before crashing into a tree.
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Urquhart told Devlin that even if he finds there is some evidence his client was the assailant, there is no evidence that the attacker planned, or deliberated over his conduct.
She noted the shooter rushed to the Altima from an Infiniti parked behind it on Sandarac Rd. NW after Shaikh jumped from the front passenger seat and forced an individual believed to be Jordan Ward into the back seat.
“The shooting … is a clear response to what happened when Mr. Shaikh gets out of the front passenger seat and tries to force this individual into the back of the vehicle,” the lawyer said.
Crown prosecutor argues evidence sufficient
But Crown prosecutor Doug Taylor argued there was sufficient evidence for Devlin to find Benn was the perpetrator and the attack was a planned one.
Taylor noted the video shows an individual going to the back of the Infiniti where he retrieves a gun hidden in a Walmart bag, a pair of board shorts and a Wendy’s bag.
Benn’s fingerprints were found on the Walmart bag and his DNA on the Wendy’s bag which were left in the scene.
Taylor said the fact the Infiniti chased after the Altima after it drove away was proof Benn’s plan was to murder the occupants.
“It’s reasonable to conclude at that point that Mr. Benn wanted to finish the job,” he said.
Devlin will hand down a ruling on Wednesday and if he rules against the defense Urquhart will decide whether to call any evidence.
On Twitter: @KMartinCourts