B.C. prosecutors are splitting up the trials of four suspects in one of the worst gangland slayings in Canadian history, allowing three to be tried at once while the fourth deals with legal issues.
The direct indictments announced on Thursday mean Jamie Bacon will face a solo trial on charges in the October, 2007, shooting deaths of six men in a 15th-floor apartment of a Surrey highrise.
Four of the victims had gang links, but two – fireplace repairman Edward Schellenberg, 55, of Abbotsford, and 22-year-old Christopher Mohan, who lived in a neighbouring apartment – were bystanders.
B.C.’s Criminal Justice Branch said Cody Rae Haevischer, Matthew Johnston and Quang Vinh Thang Le will be tried on one indictment.
Mr. Bacon will be tried on a second indictment so he can work through issues in the courts such as solicitor-client privilege, the criminal justice branch said.
“Proceeding in this way will allow the trial of the other three accused to proceed without being affected by issues which only involve Mr. Bacon,” said a statement issued by the branch.
Mr. Bacon is facing two charges. He is accused of first-degree murder in the death of 21-year-old Corey Lal. He is also accused of conspiring with his fellow accused to murder Mr. Lal.
The other three men jointly face six counts of first-degree murder and one charge of conspiring to commit the murder of Mr. Lal.
Jury trials are not expected to begin before 2013, the branch said.
Neil MacKenzie, the spokesman for the branch, said on Thursday he could not offer any further comment because the case is before the courts.
Eileen Mohan’s son Chris was one of the bystanders killed in the shooting. The family lived across the hall from the apartment where the killings occurred.
Ms. Mohan now advocates against gang activity. She said she has been briefed on the legal situation.
“I am going on my gut feeling and on faith that if this is the way to hold a proper trial and a proper outcome will come in this way, then I am hopeful,” she said on Thursday.
The RCMP have linked Mr. Bacon to the Red Scorpion gang, which was involved in a conflict with the UN gang.