Author of ballistics report cross-examined in Sask. murder trial
The author of a ballistics report filed by the Crown in the Greg Fertuck murder trial says he was not aware of what gun Fertuck confessed to using in the alleged crime in an undercover police tactic.
The trial resumed Friday at Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench, with RCMP forensic specialist Kenneth Chan appearing via video to be cross-examined by the defence.
Fertuck is charged with first-degree murder in connection to the disappearance of his estranged wife Sheree Fertuck.
Sheree was last seen on Dec. 7, 2015, leaving her Kenaston family home to go haul gravel nearby. Her body has never been found.
Fertuck was targeted in an undercover police tactic, called a Mr. Big sting, in which he told undercover officers he shot and killed Sheree at the gravel pit using a Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic rifle.
Shell casings from a .22 calibre rifle were found at the pit on April 14, 2016, and were sent to a lab to be compared to shell casings seized from Fertuck’s home to see if they were fired from the same gun.
Chan said he used a microscope to examine the three shell casings. However, there was no conclusive finding.
According to the gun lab report, “The expended cartridge case … was neither identified nor eliminated as having been fired in the same firearm which fired the expended cartridge cases.”
The report goes on to say the shell casings “were probably fired in a 22 Long or Long Rifle calibre firearm(s) with a rectangular or slant left firing pin” and that “these characteristics are commonly encountered and there are many makes and models of firearms in which the expended cartridge cases could have been fired.”
Defence lawyer Mike Nolan asked Chan whether he was given the make and model of the gun Fertuck confessed to using to undercover officers. Chan said he was not.
As a result, Chan said he did not check with the gun manufacturer to see if the marks on the ammunition match the gun the Crown alleges Fertuck used.
The report’s conclusion said if suspect firearms are found, it could be possible to identify or eliminate which firearms fired the shell casings.
The trial is in a voir dire: a trial within a trial, to determine the admissibility of evidence, notably the Mr. Big sting.
Justice Richard Danyliuk is set to make a decision on what evidence can be used on March 30.