Charges against gangster Jamie Bacon in connection with the “Surrey Six” homicides have been stayed by the B.C. Supreme Court, the BC Prosecution Service (BCPS) announced Friday.
Bacon was charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit the murder of Corey Lal, who was one of six people who died in homicides that took place at the Balmoral Tower building in Surrey on Oct. 19, 2007.
Matthew Johnston and Cody Haevischer were convicted of six counts of first-degree murder and a count of conspiracy to commit murder in connection with this case in 2014. They’re serving life sentences with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Coverage of the Bacon Brothers on Globalnews.ca:
The court granted a stay of proceedings that Bacon had applied for, in a ruling that was released on Friday.
But the stay doesn’t mean that he’ll be released.
Bacon remains in custody on a charge of counselling the murder of an individual. A trial on that charge is set to commence on April 3, 2018.
Bacon has made no application for bail on that charge, and the Crown would oppose his release, the BCPS said.
Eileen Mohan, the mother of Chris Mohan, who was killed in the Surrey Six shootings, said she was expecting that her son would see justice until the ruling was made public on Friday.
“My son’s life was taken so horrifically, and to give me a verdict like that today was … I just wanted to scream to the rest of the world until someone listens to me and understands my pain,” she said.
LISTEN: CKNW Reporter Jeremy Lye speaks with Eileen Mohan following charges against Jamie Bacon being stayed
B.C. Attorney General David Eby expressed “tremendous disappointment” at the decision.
“The families of the victims and all who have been impacted by this terrible crime deserve peace, and they will not find it today,” he said.
Eby noted that the BC Prosecution Service would review the court’s decision closely to “identify possible avenues of appeal.”
“I am confident that the BC Prosecution Service will complete their review as soon as possible,” he said.
The reasons for issuing the stay of proceedings have been sealed and must remain so, Madam Justice K.M. Ker wrote in her ruling.
The ruling said that the court heard a “number of pre-trial applications involving complex legal and factual issues.”
They included that Bacon’s counsel had “come into possession of privileged information that they cannot use in his defence which impacts upon Mr. Bacon’s fair trial rights.”
“In part, this arose from the manner in which the police handled aspects of privileged and confidential information,” Ker wrote.
Various privileges were invoked as part of the pre-trial process.
They included solicitor-client privilege, litigation privilege, informer privilege, public interest privilege and witness protection.
A number of pre-trial applications were related to the “disclosure, protection, and retrieval of privileged information,” Ker wrote.
“My full written rulings are under seal in order to protect the Crown’s claims of privilege, which I have upheld.”
Ker wrote that she had granted Bacon’s application for a stay of proceedings, and ordered that “both counts on the indictment against Mr. Bacon be stayed.”
“In order to protect the Crown’s claims of privilege, which I have upheld, the evidence adduced, the materials filed and my reasons for entering the stay of proceedings must remain sealed,” she said.
A Vancouver criminal lawyer believes privileged information from an informant got into the hands of Bacon’s lawyer.
Speaking on CKNW’s Steele and Drex, Paul Doroshenko said the longer these kinds of cases go on, the more chances there are for things to go wrong.
“The likelihood of screw ups where something is disclosed that shouldn’t be certainly increases (with) the more time that you’ve got. It’s really unfortunate. You’re looking at this and you’re wondering, ‘How the hell could this happen?'”
He said the court takes these breeches seriously because it protects informants.
-With files from Jeremy Lye & Kyle Benning