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A lawyer for Jamie Bacon, alleged leader of the B.C. Lower Mainland's Red Scorpion gang and one of four men charged with first-degree murder in connection to the Surrey Six slayings in 2007, has filed a constitutional challenge claiming the pre-trial conditions under which he and the four other men are being held violates their charter rights.

Mr. Bacon, Michael Le, Cody Haevischer and Matthew Johnston have been in solitary confinement in four different prisons across B.C. since their arrest in April, says David Butcher, Mr. Haevischer's lawyer.

Each is being kept, alone, in an area of the prison reserved for punitive measures, Mr. Butcher said - conditions he called "extremely unusual" and which violate the prisoners' Charter rights, given how long they're being kept there.

"Almost everybody else charged with similar offences are kept with the general population in the prison," he said. "I think the position [of the challenge]is that nothing warrants it."

The challenge, filed about two weeks ago, will be argued in court on Monday, Mr. Butcher said, when the next pre-trial hearing is scheduled. The challenge has only formally been filed on Mr. Bacon's behalf, but Mr. Butcher said he thinks a ruling would apply to all the men. He wouldn't say why the challenge was filed in the name of only one accused.

A trial date hasn't yet been set, but Mr. Butcher said the case isn't expected to go to court until 2011.

Keeping the prisoners in solitary confinement in their current conditions for that length of time violates their rights, he said.

Expert evidence from a psychology professor in the United States is "very critical" of the conditions the four accused are being kept in, Mr. Butcher said.

Kimberly Eldred, lawyer for 24-year-old Mr. Bacon, couldn't be immediately reached last night for comment.

The four men are charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the Surrey Six slayings in October, 2007, when four gang rivals and two passersby were killed in a penthouse suite of the Balmoral Towers.

It was the deadliest gang murder in B.C. history.

Mr. Bacon and Mr. Le are charged in one of the murders and with one count of conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the killing of 21-year-old Cory Lal . Mr. Haevischer and Mr. Johnston are charged in all six deaths.

Dennis Karbovanec, 27, pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder in April and is now serving a life sentence.