Accused B.C. gangster to face new trial
An alleged B.C. gangster who escaped 15 criminal charges for weapons and drug offences when a judge tossed out a search warrant must now face a new trial.
Jonathan Bacon -- who police have publicly identified as a gang member -- was arrested along with Godwin Cheng and Rayleene Burton in August 2005.
Police searched two vehicles and seized marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine and more than $90,000 in cash.
While officers had been denied a search warrant the day before the arrest because there were not reasonable grounds, after the arrests they were granted the warrant to search Bacon's Abbotsford, B.C., townhouse.
In the townhouse, police found more marijuana, cash, automatic weapons, illegal ammunition, silencers, a bulletproof vest, a police uniform and a police scanner.
At trial, provincial court Judge Donald Gardiner found that the arresting officer didn't have adequate grounds to make the arrests, making the arrest unlawful and the subsequent search warrant invalid.
He threw out all the charges against the accused.
The Crown appealed and on Thursday, a three-member panel on the B.C. Appeal court unanimously disagreed with the lower court judge on both the arrest and the warrant.
"What the judge was obliged to do was to strip away the objectionable features and examine the sufficiency of what remained," said B.C. Appeal Court Justice Ian Donald in a written ruling. "He did not engage in this exercise and thereby committed (a) reversible error."
The not guilty verdicts have been set aside and a new trial ordered.
Bacon was the subject of a news release by police in Port Moody, B.C., last year, warning that Bacon was an immediate and significant threat to public safety.
Police said the criminal lifestyle he chose, involving his brothers and other criminal groups, was unsafe for the public.
Bacon's brothers, who police have also named publicly as gang members, both face unrelated charges before the court.
Jamie Bacon, who police say is the leader of the Red Scorpions gang, is accused of first-degree murder in connection to the deaths of six people in a Surrey highrise apartment in October 2007.
Jarrod is facing trial on drug trafficking and gun charges.