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Dna Evidence Helps Overturn Rape Conviction

By NICO SCAVELLA

Tribune Staff Reporter

nscavella@tribunemedia.net

DEFICIENCIES in the DNA evidence against a man previously convicted of raping a woman at gunpoint after burglarising her West Bay Street home led to his conviction being overturned, the Court of Appeal has said.

The appellate court said the reason why Oscar Ingraham was acquitted of the October 2011 crime was because the DNA report the Crown used in support of its case contained no evidence that linked him to the crime.

In fact, the appellate tribunal of Justices Stella Crane-Scott, Roy Jones and Milton Evans said Ingraham’s trial should have ended before the case was even turned over to the jury, as there was no other evidence that gave the DNA evidence any “significance”.

The reasons from the appellate court came seven months after Ingraham successfully argued his own appeal against his 25-year sentence for raping a woman at gunpoint and robbing her of almost $200 after breaking into her home on October 28, 2011.

During his appeal, Ingraham maintained the DNA report the Crown used in support of its case was inconclusive and contained no evidence that linked him to the crime. And for that reason, he successfully asserted the case should have never gone to a jury but ended at the no-case submission stage.

According to the Court of Appeal ruling on the matter, Ingraham’s alleged connection to the offence was made by the presence of Y-STR DNA found on the woman’s vaginal swab. The results of the Y-STR DNA testing revealed that Ingraham could not be excluded as a contributor and all patrilineal male relatives also could not be excluded as a contributor of the DNA profile obtained.

The appellate judges noted that as the Crown’s case relied solely on the DNA evidence, there was no other evidence presented during the trial that could have given the DNA evidence any significance—for example, motive or opportunity, the trial judge ought to have directed an acquittal at the no-case submission stage.

That marked the third time Ingraham was successful in having his rape convictions overturned.

In February 2017, the appellate court quashed Ingraham’s conviction for raping a woman after burglarising her home and robbing her at gunpoint in February 2012. However, the court ordered a retrial after determining the trial judge misdirected the jury during summation in that if they had reasonable doubt, they should convict him.

In August 2017, Ingraham had his 30-year sentence for the home invasion, armed robbery and rape of a woman on the night of an island-wide power outage in May 2012 overturned. The appellate court found the forensic evidence in that case was insufficient to have been left to the jury for deliberation.

The appellate judges at the time did not order a retrial as they found that it would not have been in the interests of justice to do so. And in similar fashion, the appellate judges said it was not in the interests of justice to order a retrial over the October 2011 incident.

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