Monica Lamb-Yorski photo. The manslaughter trial in Williams Lake Supreme Court continues with expert witnesses taking the stand.

Manslaughter trial continues with expert witnesses

The manslaughter trial into the death of Likely-area resident Gary Price four years ago resumed in B.C. Supreme Court in Williams Lake Tuesday, with Justice Marguerite Church presiding.

The trial, which began on June 5, 2017 is scheduled to go until July 28.

It was adjourned for a few days last week while the accused, Guy Smith, 56, waited for and attended a medical appointment in Prince George.

On Tuesday morning, July 4, the proceedings focused on biological evidence collected from a tomahawk axe, a man’s leather vest, a small crowbar and a toothbrush — all exhibits in the case in which Smith is charged with one count of manslaughter and one count of interference with a dead body.

Two RCMP search technologists, Kenneth Chan and Michelle Wong, appeared as witnesses for the Crown and were asked questions about how they obtained the biological samples they forwarded for further DNA analysis.

Chan testified that he first searched the tomahawk for hair and blood stains under normal light and then microscopically.

Stains he found on the handle and head of the axe were negative, Chan told the court, but said when he proceeded and removed the axe head he observed stains.

“I tested two stains and they were positive,” Chan said.

Defense counsel Richard Kaiser asked Chan if he tested samples from inside the axe head after it was removed from the handle, Chan said he did not.

Crown Counsel Joseph Temple cross-examined Wong about retrieving blood samples from the leather vest.

Wong testified she tested three areas on the vest’s exterior but they all came up negative.

When queried by Temple about the findings inside the vest she said she sampled an area in the back panel of the left side under the arm.

“When I screened tested it for blood it gave me a positive,” Wong said, noting from there the she retrieved a sample with forceps, placed it in a tube and forwarded it for further DNA analysis.

Defense counsel Eric Rines asked Wong to show the court where she sampled stains on the vest and Defense counsel Richard Kaiser asked Chan to show him where he sampled stains on the tomahawk.

It was not clear who owned the axe or vest.

Price was 60 years old at the time of his disappearance in 2013.

On Sept. 14, 2014 the Williams Lake RCMP received complaints of human remains located in a water well on a private property in Likely.

A month later on Oct. 22, the RCMP confirmed the remains had been identified as that of Price.

Smith elected to be tried by judge alone.

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