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Cannabis factory murder case

Written by: Alan Baker 5th October, 2022
Bericon’s instruction:

Bericon was requested to examine a series of clothing items recovered as part of the police investigation and comment on any evidence of ammonia solution being deposited onto them.

How did our expert do this?

They visited a forensic laboratory where he examined a series of clothing items recovered during the police investigation.

In a case of this type, the timely recovery of items and the subsequent nature of their packaging are vital considerations given that certain liquids can evaporate very quickly.

Consequently, the packaging should be of specialist nylon bags. This is important in a case where volatile materials are suspected of being used. Such a liquid could be ammonia or, less likely, an organic solvent.


Conclusions Bericon’s expert made:

Shaddai Smith and Jason Sebran entered a address at about 0300hrs on 22nd March 2021 with the intention of stealing cannabis plants.

Whilst present within the property, they encountered Renato and Vilson Geci. It is alleged that Mr Smith discharged a quantity of ammonia solution at Vilson Geci and that this individual could tell that it was “acid” because it was hot and had a burning smell.

During the confrontation between the named individuals, it is alleged that Renato Geci was fatally stabbed.

The emergency service attended the location and in the subsequent police investigation, a series of clothing items was recovered.

Our expert was unsure at what stage the police became aware of the possible use of ammonia in this incident but seemingly it was not at the outset of their investigation given that the relevant items were not packaged correctly for ammonia determination (nylon bags would have retained any volatile substances). The consequence of this being that any subsequent scientific assessment of the case has been compromised.

Bericon’s expert was asked to comment on the nature of a sample of liquid which it is suggested was discharged at Vilson Geci by Shaddai Smith.

The tests of the liquid confirmed that it was ammonia with a pH of about 11 and having, at the time of their examination, a concentration of about 2% (in his opinion, at the time of the incident the concentration would have been greater than this and most likely equivalent to shop-bought ammonia solution of 5%-9.5%).

In their view it could be reasonably described as a noxious liquid.

They examined a series of clothing items. In his view, the consequence of bloodstaining, the nature (fabric and colour) of the garments and their incorrect packaging means any subsequent forensic examination was compromised. Given these restrictions, it was not possible to determine if ammonia solution had been discharged or deposited onto the items but currently no evidence exists that it had.


Result of the court case: