Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Guilty verdicts upheld in Surrey Six slayings

The Court of Appeal released a “Statement of Pronouncement of Judgment” on Thursday

Eileen Mohan, whose son Christopher was murdered in the 2007 Surrey Six slayings, says it’s “justice due” after the appeal court upheld the murder convictions of Matthew James Johnston and Cody Rae Haevischer.

“I think it’s justice due, and that cannot be broken,” Mohan told the Now-Leader on Thursday. “You cannot hide behind technicalities just because you can. Innocent lives were taken, which included my only son, and not only Christopher’s life was taken, as you know.

“I mean, my life and my family’s life was shattered with Christopher. This verdict doesn’t mend our lives, it doesn’t bring Christopher back,” Mohan said. “It doesn’t bring everything that we were achieving for, and striving for in life, it doesn’t bring back. At least we know that justice prevails and you cannot walk to the doorstep of my home, like I always said, and steal my son’s innocent life and expect to go free. You can’t do that.”

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Eileen Mohan in a pre-pandemic media scrum outside the courthouse in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

The British Columbia Court of Appeal heard conviction appeals in Regina v. Haevischer and Regina versus Johnston during a three-day webcast last October, 13 years after the murders. It released a “Statement of Pronouncement of Judgment” on Thursday that said while “None of the grounds of appeal that would have resulted in a new trial are upheld, and the verdicts of guilt are affirmed,” the appellants may nevertheless apply for an evidentiary hearing to argue for a stay of proceedings on grounds of abuse of process.

“I don’t know what the three appeal judges thought when they left this avenue open for them,” Mohan said. “You know what it means, stay of proceedings. They can walk free. That means the very people who came and killed Christopher and others walk free,” she said. “They said the dates have not been set yet.”

The reasons for judgment remain sealed but an “abbreviated” version will be posted, “when available,” that won’t contain confidential information.

READ ALSO: Haevischer, Johnston appeal convictions in Surrey Six slayings

The appellants were convicted of murdering six people in suite 1505 of the Balmoral Tower in Whalley on Oct. 19, 2007. The Crown’s theory was that the killings were payback for an unpaid debt between rival gangs.

Christopher Mohan and Abbotsford gasfitter Ed Shellenberg, 55, were innocent victims who accidentally stumbled upon a drug hit in progress. Edward Sousakhone Narong, 22, Ryan Bartolomeo, 19, and brothers Michael Justin Lal, 26, and Corey Jason Michael Lal, 21, were also slain.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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