By Kim Bolan
VANCOUVER — Accused killer Jamie Bacon’s murder trial has been delayed until March 2018, more than a decade after the Surrey Six murders he is alleged to have plotted.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kathleen Ker said Friday that the adjournment was necessary because of a series of complex pre-trial applications related to evidence and other issues that have not yet been heard.
She said the original Oct. 31 trial date is now “completely unrealistic in light of the fact that there are a number of lengthy and complicated pretrial applications outstanding.”
One of them, she said, was a defence motion to stay the charges against the notorious gangster due to the lengthy delay in getting to trial.
Ker referenced a Supreme Court of Canada ruling in July, staying trafficking charges against a B.C. man named Barrett Jordan because he had waited more than four years to go to trial.
“I understand the defence is finalizing framing its Jordan application seeking a stay of proceedings,” Ker said.
She said jury selection will now begin Feb. 5, 2018, with the trial starting on March 5.
Bacon was charged on April 4, 2009 with murder and conspiracy in connection with the infamous Surrey Six slaughter of six men, including two innocent bystanders, in a high-rise apartment building.
Bacon is alleged to have ordered the hit on rival drug trafficker Corey Lal that spiralled out of control on Oct. 19, 2007 and resulted in the murder of Lal, his brother Michael, associates Ryan Bartolomeo and Eddie Narong, as well as bystanders Chris Mohan and Ed Schellenberg.
Mohan’s mother Eileen was in court Friday as Ker announced the delay.
She said afterwards that she had been hoping for a guilty plea from Bacon “to end this nightmare”.
Now she will have to wait even longer for the final trial in connection with the murders.
“It takes a toll on us and on me. But at the end of the day, if it delivers justice for Christopher and his death doesn’t go in vain, then I am all for being patient and waiting for the right outcome.”
She said she wasn’t worried about a defence motion to stay the charges in the case because of all the delays.
“This one is very important to me and I’m hoping the courts won’t let him walk free,” Mohan said.
Criminal Justice Branch spokesman Dan McLaughlin said the Crown is working diligently to move the case to trial.
“Certainly we want to see these matters proceed in an expeditious manner. But they must be adjudicated upon fully and fairly,” he said.
“I think that the public should know that this is an example of the criminal justice system essentially working its way through a variety of complex issues. We are being challenged, and in my view we are rising to the challenge. We are applying appropriate resources to resolving these issues.”
Bacon was in courtroom #20 on Friday, which was packed with spectators. He wore red prison garb and looked big and bulky, like he had been hitting the jail gym.
Now 31, he is the youngest of three gangster siblings who were involved in a bloody conflict across the Lower Mainland from 2007 to 2009.
Bacon had his trial severed from co-accused Cody Haevischer, Matthew Johnston and Michael Le after a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled that he had been held in inhumane conditions in jail, including solitary confinement, after his arrest.
Less than a year ago, another gangster charged with manslaughter in the case, Sophon Sek, pleaded guilty only to break and enter. The more serious charge was dropped. He got sentenced to less than a year in jail.
Sek was a friend of Le, the Red Scorpion gang founder who also struck a plea deal earlier in the case and was sentenced to 12 years, minus time served.
In December 2014, Haevischer and Johnston were found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. They have appealed their convictions.
Another gangster involved in the murders, who can only be identified as Person X, continues to serve a life sentence with no possibility of parole for 15 years after pleading guilty to three counts of second-degree murder in April 2009.
TIMELINE IN SURREY SIX MURDER CASE
Early Oct., 2007: Surrey drug trafficker Corey Lal is roughed up by rivals from the Red Scorpion gang and told to pay a $100,000 “tax” for selling cocaine and other drugs in their territory.
Oct. 18, 2007: Corey Lal, Eddie Narong and other associates forcibly take over a Surrey drug line run by Lal’s former partner Stephen Leone.
Oct. 19, 2007: Eddie Narong, Corey Lal, his brother Michael Lal, associate Ryan Bartolomeo and bystanders Ed Schellenberg and Chris Mohan are shot to death, execution-style, inside suite 1505 of Surrey’s Balmoral Tower.
Oct. 22, 2007: Police seized a BMW linked to accused Surrey Six killer Cody Haevischer at a Burnaby car-detailing business where it had been dropped off.
Oct. 23, 2007: Homicide investigators search a suite at The Stanley apartments in Surrey, where Cody Haevischer was living with his girlfriend before the Surrey Six murders.
March 12, 2008: The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team asks for the public’s help in identifying a man with “significant” information about the murders, saying police would protect the man from the killers.
May 31, 2008: The Vancouver Sun reveals for the first time that the Surrey Six suspects are linked to the Red Scorpion gang.
May 31, 2008: Police warn that anyone associating with the Red Scorpion Bacon brothers could be in danger because they have been targeted by rivals. Jamie and Jarrod Bacon are arrested on firearms charges.
Jan. 20, 2009: Jamie Bacon is shot at as he drives his car through a busy Abbotsford intersection at midday. He is uninjured, but police later say the United Nations gang was hunting him at the time.
Feb. 3, 2009: Raphael Baldini, a close friend of Corey Lal’s who once rented suite 1505 in the Balmoral, is gunned down in a Surrey mall parking lot.
April 3, 2009: Person X enters a surprise guilty plea to second-degree murder charges for fatally shooting Chris Mohan, Michael Lal and Ryan Bartolomeo in Surrey’s Balmoral Tower 18 months earlier.
April 3, 2009: Red Scorpions Cody Haevischer, Matt Johnston and Jamie Bacon are charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy in the slayings.
June 17, 2009: Red Scorpion gang founder Michael Le is arrested in the Philippines and deported to Canada, where he is charged with murder and conspiracy in the killings.
Nov. 23, 2009: Sophon Sek is charged with manslaughter for allegedly helping the Surrey Six killers get access to the Balmoral Tower suite.
April 13, 2010: A Red Scorpion who can only be identified as Person Y pleads guilty to two unrelated murders and reveals he will be a Crown witness in the Surrey Six case.
Aug. 2, 2012: The Crown announces that Jamie Bacon will get a separate trial from his co-accused Cody Haevischer, Matt Johnston and Michael Le.
Sept. 30, 2013: The Surrey Six trial begins for Haevischer, Johnston and Le under tight security at Vancouver Law Courts.
Nov. 28, 2013: Red Scorpion founder Michael Le enters a surprise mid-trial guilty plea to conspiracy to commit murder and agrees to testify against his former co-accused.
March 10, 2014: Key Crown witness Person Y takes the stand and describes his life as a gangster and killer. He later implicates Matt Johnston in the Surrey Six murders. He also testifies that Jamie Bacon had ordered the murders.
April 8, 2014: Red Scorpion founder Michael Le begins his sensational testimony at the trial, saying both Cody Haevischer and Matt Johnston confessed to having roles in the murders.
May 20, 2014: Lead prosecutor Mark Levitz closes the Crown’s case after 73 witnesses and 80 days of testimony.
June 9, 2014: Defence lawyers Simon Buck (for Haevischer) and Michael Tammen (Johnston) tell Judge Catherine Wedge they will not be calling witnesses on behalf of their clients.
July 7, 2014: Cody Haevischer’s defence team begins its closing arguments, calling the Crown’s evidence in the case “woefully inadequate.”
July 10, 2014: Matt Johnston’s lawyers begin closing arguments, saying key witnesses testifying about the murder plot are admitted violent gangsters and should not be believed.
July 14, 2014: B.C. Supreme Court Judge Catherine Wedge announces she will give her verdict in the Surrey Six case on Oct. 2, 2014.
Oct. 2, 2014: Cody Haevischer and Matthew Johnston are convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. They are later sentenced to life in prison with no hope of parole for 25 years.
Jan. 8, 2015: Cody Haevischer and Matthew Johnston file appeals of their convictions.
July 29, 2015: Jamie Bacon’s Sept. 2, 2015 trial date is delayed by more than a year until Oct. 31, 2016
Dec. 18, 2015: Sophon Sek strikes a plea deal. His manslaughter charge is dropped and he pleads guilty only to break and enter for helping the Surrey Six killers access the Balmoral Tower. He gets less than a year in jail.
Sept. 23, 2016: Jamie Bacon makes an appearance in B.C. Supreme Court for a ruling by Justice Kathleen Ker to delay his trial yet again to March 5, 2018 — more than 10 years after the murders.
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