Police Warn Independent Soldier of Threats Against Him

Donnie Lyons was in minimum security Ferndale serving his six-year sentence for trafficking cocaine and possession of firearms when the RCMP came to visit earlier this year.
Police told Correctional Service of Canada staff that Lyons could be targeted and that the threat was serious and extended to his associates. So the CSC moved him to the more secure Mission Institution, under his protests.
He challenged the move in B.C. Supreme Court, but this week, Justice Brian Butler sided with prison officials and said the move was done lawfully and that it was within the rights of Mission’s warden to reclassify Lyons based on the external threat.
Here’s my story so far:
Here’s the full ruling:
Lyons has told CSC staff that he is no longer with the IS, but the Ferndale warden submitted that was not accurate. Here’s part of her decision:
In regards to the rating of moderate in Public Safety I concur. Mr. LYONS is a high ranking member of the Independent Soldiers (IS) Security Threat Group (STG). Although he has vocalized his disaffiliation with this STG, the extent of his involvement cannot be underestimated. The community dynamics surrounding this STG and other affiliated groups has become a safety issue for the Lower Mainland; the threat towards Mr. LYONS is consistent with recent community incidents. I recognize Mr. LYONS has made progress against his Correctional Plan and managed a transfer to minimum security. That being said the protection of public is CSC’s priority. Given Mr. LYONS’ history, reliability of the information provided to CSC, and current STG violence within the community I believe a rating of moderate is appropriate in the area of Public Safety.
Although Mr. LYONS and his counsel have requested further information, I am satisfied that the information that I have to make my decision is reliable and persuasive. In [the] interest of public safety, and in consideration of all the available information I am satisfied that Mr. LYONS’ continued placement at minimum security is no longer appropriate.
As such, and given the serious consequences to both the safety of the institution and the public in general, I am approving the involuntary transfer to Mission Institution. I concur with the recommendations of the CMT with respect to the medium security rating.

Surrey RCMP Gets New Top Officer

Supt. Bill Fordy is well-known around B.C. – mostly for his role in interrogations of high-profile suspects like Robert Pickton and Charles Kembo.
And now he’s taking over from retiring Asst. Commissioner Fraser MacRae as head of Surrey RCMP – the largest detachment in Canada.
Here’s my profile of Fordy:
Here’s the release on his appointment:
Surrey RCMP Media Advisory
Date: 2012-05-29
Title: New Surrey RCMP Detachment Commander Announced
The RCMP is pleased to announce that Supt. Bill Fordy has been chosen as the new Officer in Charge of Surrey RCMP Detachment. 
After a selection and interview process conducted by the Surrey Mayor, City Manager, the Chair of the Surrey Police Committee and the Lower Mainland District Commander, a candidate was chosen. With the support of the RCMP Commissioner, their recommendation was ratified by Surrey City Council late Monday afternoon. 
“I am impressed with Bill’s accomplishments,” says A/Commr. Norm Lipinski, Lower Mainland District Commander. “He brings a great deal to the leadership team and I look forward to working with him as Surrey builds upon its successes and continues to evolve and move forward as an innovative police service.”
“I am very pleased by Supt. Fordy’s selection and appointment to the Officer in Charge position at Surrey Detachment,” says A/Commr. Fraser MacRae the outgoing Surrey Detachment Commander. “He has a well earned reputation as an excellent police officer and leader and is a person of great energy, passion and integrity. I wish him every success in his new role”. 
Supt. Fordy, who began his career as a Constable with the Surrey RCMP in 1989, returned in 2011 as the Officer in Charge of the Detachment’s Investigative Services Section. His 23 years of policing has included various positions within general duty, property and serious crime section and Major Case Management. Supt. Fordy takes command of the second largest municipal police force in the British Columbia and the RCMP’s largest Detachment in Canada, which has policed Surrey for over 60 years. 
 “It is a tremendous honour to have been chosen”, says Supt. Fordy. “I look forward to supporting the outstanding work of the men and women who proudly serve Surrey, and working with the citizens of Surrey and its community leaders who are committed to ensuring Surrey is a vibrant, livable and safe community.” 
Supt Fordy will assume his Detachment Commander duties on Monday June 4, 2012 and will be promoted to the rank of Chief Superintendent in the near future.

Former B.C. Resident Charged in Little Italy Hit in Toronto – UPDATE

UPDATE: While Toronto Police claimed late Thursday that Dean Wiwchar, 26, was a B.C. resident and unknown to them, he in fact grew up in Stouffville, Ontario and was convicted of robbery there several years ago.  A quick CPIC data base search should have given police ALL that info.
He was in B.C. serving time and lived here briefly before he returned to his hometown where his mom and dad still live.
His lawyer said Friday that he is not guilty of the targeted murder of John Raposo  (pictured below) in Toronto’s Sicilian Sidewalk Cafe  earlier this week.
Wiwchar has police history in B.C.
He was convicted twice in Chilliwack last year of uttering threats. In one case, he got a five-month conditional sentence and a 10-year firearms prohibition.  In the other, he got a three-month conditional sentence and a five-year ban. He was also convicted in 2010 of assaulting a peace officer in Abbostford in connection with a 2009 incident. He got 90 days in jail for that offence.
Wiwchar was arrested in downtown Toronto Thursday afternoon. As many as 25 police officers were on hand for the arrest.
Police said late Thursday that Wiwchar had several different identifications on him when he was arrested.
Here’s our story:
If anyone can tell me anything about Wiwchar I would appreciate it… kbolan@vancouversun.com

Jamie Bacon Gets Prison Transfer

Jamie Bacon made a brief appearance in B.C. Supreme Court Tuesday morning on his application to be transferred out of Kent Institution pending his trial in the Surrey Six case.
His application to be moved was granted by Associate Chief Justice Austin Cullen, though a ban on all other details was imposed.
Here’s my update:
There is still no date fixed for the Surrey Six trial, despite Bacon and his co-accused being in custody for more than three years now. It was expected it would get underway before the end of 2012. But I don’t know if that is still the estimate.

Coke Smugglers Get Lengthy Jail Terms in New West Court Friday

Shminder Johal, the overseer of a sophisticated cocaine smuggling ring, was handed an 18 year jail sentence in B.C. Supreme Court Friday.
And Baljinder Kandola, the border guard he bribed to let the cocaine into B.C., got a 15-year term.
Justice Selwyn Romilly gave Johal 16 and Kandola 14 for the conspiracy and the actual cocaine importing, but handed each consecutive terms for some of the other counts upon which he convicted them June 29.
Family members and supporters of each packed the New Westminster courtroom and chatted and embraced in the corridor before proceedings commenced. Both were taken into custody for the first time since their 2007 arrest.
Here’s my full story:
Outside court Friday, RCMP Sgt. Duncan Pound said the case highlighted the success of cross-border cooperation among law enforcement agencies.
“We do believe that this was a case where you had an organized crime group that established a method to bring cocaine into Canada and they were probably offering their services to whoever would pay them money for it,” Pound said. “The fact that now that service is completely gone and there are some very significant sentences applied to the people involved, it is definitely a success story.”
Pound said that the financier behind the October 2007 cocaine shipment for which Johal and Kandola were convicted was Charles Lai, the Vancouver businessman sentenced in Seattle in 2009 to a 13 year term.

Violent Terrace Drug Gang Out of Business: RCMP

RCMP say they have put a violent Terrace drug gang out of business.
Police seized 110 guns during five searches last week, as well as cocaine, pot, ecstasy, hash and magic mushrooms.
Charged so far is 49-year old David Harry Edwardsen, though more charges against four others are expected.
He is facing 11 counts of both trafficking and firearms offences.
Insp. Dana Hart said the gang has links to organized crime in the Okanagan, though he could not name a specific gang.
He said the community of Terrace is safer now that Edwardsen is off the streets.
And Supt. Brian Cantera, who heads the federal drug enforcement program in B.C., said “this investigation reinforces the clear links between marijuana, ecstasy and cocaine to illegal firearms and stolen property when organized criminal groups engaged in drug trafficking search for profits.”
“More concerning is the complete disregard these groups show for Canadian families and public safety.”
The investigation stemmed 14 months. Edwardsen has no drug charges in his B.C. history, according to the court data base. But police say he has been active in the area for years.
Here’s my full story:

Intercepts didn’t violate Ronnie Lising’s rights: Feds

The federal government is denying that the rights of full-patch Hells Angel Ronaldo Lising were violated when some of his calls were intercepted and recorded while he was jailed at Mission Institution last year.
In a recently filed statement of defence, the deputy attorney general of Canada also refutes Lising’s claim that he should get $925,000 in compensation because some of the intercepted calls were between him and his lawyers.
Lising filed a suit in the Federal Court of Canada in September, claiming the intercepts of his calls violated both the Criminal Code and the Charter of Rights and that he should be compensated — $500,000 in general damages and $425,000 in punitive damages.
Lising is currently on day parole serving the remainder of an 11-year, nine-month sentence for a series of offences, including drug trafficking, firearms possession and contempt of court.
The government’s response to Lising, filed late last month, says that even if privileged calls were recorded, “the Defendant says that they were made inadvertently and were not further reviewed, accessed for playback, listened to or otherwise scrutinized.”
“The Defendant denies that any of the plaintiff’s Charter rights to which he was entitled were violated,” the defence documents say.
Nor has Lising “suffered any compensable damage, injury, loss or expense,” said lawyer Curtis Workun, representing the federal government and Mission Institution.
And the statement of defence says prison officials were working “in good faith and without malice” at the time the intercepts were made.
Mission Institution officials obtained an order to bug Lising’s calls on April 1, 2011 after receiving information that he was under threat. He was notified of the interceptions on June 20, 2011.
In Lising’s original claim, he said prison staff placed him in involuntary segregation after overhearing him talking to his wife on the phone about threats to his safety.
His wife then filed an Access to Information request related to the intercepted calls, and last December received a CD containing 555 recorded calls over a 10-week period in 2011. Eighty-five of the calls were between Lising and his lawyers Donna Turko, Greg DelBigio and Martin Peters, according to Lising’s claim.
Last week, the Parole Board of Canada decided to continue Lising’s day parole, which was granted to him last May with several special conditions.
He is still prohibited from associating with any Hells Angels or hang-arounds and prospects in the biker gang program. He can’t “wear or display his Hells Angels colours or any insignia indicating membership in or support for Hells Angels motorcycle clubs,” the parole board ruling says.
Nor can he attend clubhouses or Hells Angels events or enter any drinking establishment.
The board noted that Lising remains a full-patch Hells Angels in the Nomads chapter.
“Your membership in the Hells Angels continues to be a concern, but there is no indication that you have breached your special conditions to avoid criminals and gang members and to curtail your interaction with said group,” the Nov. 6 ruling says.
“Your file information describing your behavior in the community during your present period of day parole is overall positive … You are reported to be making positive progress in your reintegration into a law-abiding society and your potential for reintegration is still assessed as being high. There is no information to indicate that you have returned to criminal behavior.”
Lising’s convictions stem from the special undercover investigation dubbed E-Pandora that used agent Michael Plante to infiltrate the East End chapter of the Hells Angels.
When Lising’s house was raided in July 2005, police found “handguns, ammunition, a pen gun capable of single-shot fire, body armour, brass knuckles and what was described as an abduction kit, which contained a balaclava, gloves, walkie talkies and plastic zap straps,” the parole documents noted.

Jesse Margison found unfit to stand trial after jail beating

A long-time gangster who was facing kidnapping and organized crime charges has been found unfit to stand trial after sustaining head injuries in a jail beating.
Jesse Margison was seriously injured in an assault at North Fraser Pre-trial jail on Aug. 12 in which another inmate is alleged to have jumped on his head.
His lawyer Jeffrey Ray introduced medical evidence in B.C. Supreme Court Tuesday as to why Margison would not be able to aid in his own defence.
Ray said in court that the 27-year-old remains severely cognitively impaired and is unable to come to court nor communicate with his counsel.
Crown prosecutor Mark Sheardown agreed the medical evidence showed Margison was unfit.
After just an hour, a jury agreed and declared him unfit to be tried.
The finding had to be made by a jury because at the time Margison was injured, he had elected for trial by judge and jury on kidnapping and assault charges.
The charges remain on the books unless the Crown chooses to stay them.
In the meantime, Margison must be assessed by the B.C. Review Board within 90 days and periodically after that to see if there has been any change in his fitness level.
Justice Barbara Fisher ordered the fitness hearing Oct. 2 after Ray explained that Margison couldn’t communicate with him nor properly pre-pare a defence on charges stemming from a thwarted gang kidnapping in November 2011.
Margison has a long history with police, who described him as associated to the Independent Soldiers gang when he was arrested on the kidnapping charges in February 2012. He is awaiting trial on charges of kidnaping for an organized crime group, assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm. Also charged are Troy Dax McKinnon, Van Van Vu, Derek James Stephens, John Ross Powers and Cody Alexander Sleigh.
The alleged kidnapping occurred after both Margison and McKinnon were acquitted last year in the brutal kidna-ping and mutilation of former associate Robert McMillan in July 2007.
McMillan’s ear and finger were cut off, but when he was called as a Crown witness during the pair’s trial last year, McMillan refused to testify, screamed profanities at the judge and said both men were innocent.
A former associate named Jonathan McMillan, the brother of the mutilated kidnap victim, was shot to death in December 2007. Margison was injured in the same shooting.
In February 2009, Margison’s girlfriend Brianna Kinnear, 22, was gunned down in a targeted hit in Coquitlam as she drove a borrowed pickup truck on the city’s Oxford Street.
Her murder remains unsolved. A few days later, Margison associate Nick Smith was shot to death in a Vancouver basement suite.
Meanwhile, a fellow North Fraser inmate named Leonard Joseph Cardinal has been charged with aggravated assault in Margison’s beating.
Cardinal, 33, was in custody after being charged with several others with using a firearm in the commission of an offence in connection with a Langley incident on May 5, 2011.
A pre-trial conference in that case is scheduled for Surrey Provincial Court Thursday.
Cardinal is due in Port Coquitlam Provincial Court on the aggravated assault charge Dec. 17.

UN gangster Michael Newman should be convicted of murder: Crown

United Nations gangster Michael Newman should be convicted in a brutal 2004 murder because of strong forensic evidence and the fact he was later found with two guns used in the crime, prosecutor Geordie Proulx said Thursday.
In closing submissions at Newman’s first-degree murder trial, Proulx told Justice William Ehrcke there was no reasonable doubt that Newman was involved in killing Marc Rozen in his West End apartment on Jan. 6, 2004.
Rozen had advertised an expensive engagement ring for sale in several newspapers and told a friend that he was meeting a prospective buyer on the day he was killed.
Newman’s DNA was found all over Rozen’s body and apartment. Police in Ontario later found the guns in his apartment in March 2007 when he was arrested in an unrelated drug trafficking case.
“This large body of forensic evidence in conjunction with the witnesses’ accounts of what they heard coming from suite 1106 is sufficient to prove that the accused killed beyond a reasonable doubt on the charge of first-degree murder,” Proulx said.
“His retrieval of the hand guns from the crime scene, in my submission, wholly supports the Crown’s theory that Newman was an essential, substantial and integral part of the killing of Marc Rozen because he knew the police would find them and use the handguns to link him to the murder.”
Proulx urged Ehrcke to reject Newman’s testimony that he merely went to Rozen’s Haro St. apartment to buy the ring that was advertised when a man and a women attacked Rozen and Newman, stabbing them and fatally shooting Rozen.
Newman claimed that despite his injuries, he took the two guns from the scene because he wanted to use them to track “the real killers” using his connections in the criminal underworld.
But Proulx said Newman’s evidence was self-serving and nonsensical.
“This possession of both firearms used to kill Marc Rozen is entirely inconsistent with his defence that he was simply present when strangers killed Marc Rozen,” Proulx said. “His explanation for his retrieval and continued possession of them, that he retrieved them and possessed them to track down quote the real killers of Marc Rozen should be rejected as incredulous.”
At one point Thursday, Rozen’s mother, who was sitting in the front row, broke down when Ehrcke asked Proulx to comment on the autopsy report showing Rozen was stabbed “62 or 63 times.”
She and her husband left courtroom 66 as horrific details of Rozen’s injuries were discussed.
Proulx also argued that Newman’s conduct after the murder were inconsistent with his version of events. He cleaned himself up, put a towel over a neck wound, put on some of Rozen’s clothes and later sought treatment in a doctor’s office, paying cash instead of using his Carecard, he said.
“Newman took active steps to conceal his injuries and bloody clothing to aid in his departure from the crime scene undetected, locked the door of suite 1106 behind him to delay the police investigation to the murder and failed to report both his own injuries and injuries inflicted upon Rozen to the building manager, the occupants of the 11th floor or emergency health services,” Proulx said.
Nor did Newman ever report what happened to police, despite claiming he was an innocent witness to the murder.
Earlier this week, Newman’s lawyer Martin Peters urged Ehrcke to acquit his client, saying Newman’s testimony matches the testimony of some of Rozen’s neighbours.
Several heard a woman’s scream coming from the apartment at the time of the murder and Newman said there was a woman there when he arrived, Martin noted.
He said that Newman’s hand injuries were consistent with him fending off the male atttacker.
“Mr. Newman put up his right hand to defend himself and was cut by the knife,” the lawyer said.
Martin also noted that Newman testified he removed his shoes as he arrived at Rozen’s apartment which is “inconsistent with someone seeking to rob, assault, unlawfully confine and murder.”

Defence lawyer plans another challenge of mandatory minimums in gun cases

A Pitt Meadows man who fired shots into his neighbour’s dump truck near a local park in 2009 should spend six years in prison, prosecutor B. Keith Boland said in B.C. Supreme Court Tuesday.
Boland said Darcey Branstrom should be sentenced to four years for being in possession of a loaded gun, plus a year each consecutively for firing the weapon and for having a marijuana growing operation inside his house at the time.
“At the end of the day, for Mr. Branstrom having the gun, using the gun, and simultaneously having a grow-op, a global sentence of six years is appropriate,” Boland said.
But Branstrom’s lawyer Leonard Kompa intends to seek a sentence less than the three-year mandatory minimum for the firearms convictions and has filed a constitutional challenge. Kompa will make his arguments to Justice Sandra BallanceWednesday.
Earlier this year, a Surrey Provincial Court judge ruled that Canada’s mandatory minimum prison sentence for illegal gun possession is unconstitutional.
Judge James Bahen said that the three-year minimum sentence – enacted in 2008 for possession of a loaded, prohibited firearm – violates sections 7 and 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
But Bahen also said that he needed to hear from Crown prosecutors about whether those Charter violations should reduce the sentence for Glenn Harley Sheck, who was caught two years ago carrying a loaded Glock inside his Louis Vuitton man purse.
The arguments in the Sheck case are scheduled for October 29, 2013.
The mandatory minimum gun sentences have also been ruled unconstitutional in several Ontario cases that are under appeal.
Branstrom’s neighbour called Ridge Meadows RCMP on Nov. 12, 2009 to report that he had found what he believed to be bullet holes in the driver’s door of his dump truck.
His wife and a tenant told police they had heard loud noises the night before that could have been gunshots, Boland said.
He said Branstrom was identified as a suspect because of an acrimonious relationship with the neighbours. At the time of the shooting, he was facing a mischief charge for smashing the windows of a car in the neighbours’ driveway a year earlier.
Boland said the angle of the bullet holes in the truck “seemed to point to the front door of Mr. Branstrom,” who police saw picking something up off his front lawn and putting it in his underwear.
They got a search warrant for Branstrom’s house where they found a loaded gun, ammunition, spent shell casings and about 90 pot plants growing in the house, Boland said.
Branstrom was arrested as he left his home a short time later wearing a suit. He was on his way to court for an appearance in the earlier case, in which he has since pleaded guilty.
Boland said Branstrom, 28, has a criminal record and committed the firearms offences while on conditions for the earlier charge.
And he said Branstrom shooting at the dump truck in a neighbourhood near a park endangered the safety of the community.
He said commercial marijuana growing also attracts violent robberies by other in the “criminal underground.”
“The most likely reason for the firearm was for protection of the grow-op,” he said.
The sentencing hearing continues.