Mines Defends Mountie on Assault Charge

Lawyer for Coquitlam Mountie who’s on trial says nobody was hurt in 2006 incident.

A Coquitlam Mountie on trial for assault and obstruction was justified when he interfered in an arrest last year, his defence lawyer said yesterday. In his closing arguments, Michael Mines told Judge Maria Giardini that the officer may have been angry when he called for back-up and arrived at an arrest while off duty but both the alleged assault and obstruction were “minor” and are not enough to warrant criminal convictions.

Mines client acquitted in Marijuana Cafe Case

Former cafe owner faces 10 yrs

POT ADVOCATE CONVICTED ON TRAFFICKING CHARGES –
CO-ACCUSED FOUND NOT GUILTY

VANCOUVER – The former owner of a well-known east Vancouver cafe that openly sold marijuana until a police raid in September, 2004, was convicted of two marijuana-trafficking charges yesterday.

A British Columbia Supreme Court jury found Carol Gwilt guilty of possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking as well as possession of the proceeds of crime.

News Article online access: Marijuana Cafe Case

Her co-defendant, Michael Boudreau, was acquitted on the single charge that he faced, possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.

The two defendants were arrested on Sept. 16, 2004, after police found just over 400 grams of marijuana and $11,000 in cash in the car that Ms. Gwilt was driving.

Police said the street value of the marijuana was just over $4,000. The arrests came one week after more than 40 Vancouver police officers raided Ms. Gwilt’s business, the Da Kine cafe.

She is facing separate trafficking charges in connection with that widely publicized raid, which included officers clad in balaclavas, in a trial that is expected to take place later this year.

The jury heard evidence during this trial that Vancouver police continued surveillance of the cafe and Ms. Gwilt after the raid. Her car was stopped when she was observed entering the vehicle with Mr. Boudreau, who was carrying a sports bag.

Ms. Gwilt has been an outspoken advocate of legalization of marijuana. She testified last week that some of the marijuana found in the car was for sale at the Da Kine cafe. She insisted that the money was from donations people made at the cafe to her legal defence fund.

“It was definitely donation money,” Ms. Gwilt said outside court after the verdict.

She also questioned the amount of public money spent to prosecute her on these charges and in her upcoming trial.

“It’s a huge amount of money. It’s money that should be spent on health care,” she said.

Mr. Boudreau was charged because the officers conducting surveillance saw him carrying a sports bag to Ms. Gwilt’s car. The jury accepted Mr. Boudreau’s defence that he did not know the bag contained marijuana.

“He was just being a gentleman,” Ms. Gwilt said outside the court, as she explained why Mr. Boudreau was carrying the sports bag.

Mr. Boudreau was unavailable for comment. His lawyer Michael Mines said his client was relieved. “This was a nearly two-year-long ordeal for someone with no criminal history,” Mr. Mines said.

Jason Gratl, the lawyer for Ms. Gwilt, said his client effectively confessed to the trafficking charges in her testimony so she could explain that Mr. Boudreau was not part of the sale of marijuana at the Da Kine cafe.

“Her priority has been to make sure innocent people do not get caught in the web,” Mr. Gratl said.

The proceeds of crime offence is the more serious of the two charges for which Ms. Gwilt was convicted and carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Mr. Gratl said his client “understands the consequence of civil disobedience,” but he is hopeful the Crown will not seek a jail sentence against Ms. Gwilt.

She remains free on bail until her sentencing hearing on July 6.

Mines Client receives suspended sentence in Beating death

Players in fatal swarming sentenced

NORTHSHORE NEWS
By Jane Syed

One young man was placed under house arrest and a second man received a suspended sentence Thursday for their part in a violent swarming that ended in the death of 25-year-old Robbie Araji in Waterfront Park in the summer.

News Article online access: Suspended sentence in Beating death

Chad Baker, 20, of Squamish, was placed under house arrest for three months, followed by one year’s probation, while Phillip Wilmarth, 19, of North Vancouver, received a suspended sentence, 12 months’ probation and was ordered to obey a curfew for three months for their part in the savage beating of Araji in the early morning hours of June 30. Baker and Wilmarth both pleaded guilty to assault.

According to Crown prosecution information presented on Thursday in North Vancouver provincial court, Baker and Wilmarth were among a crowd of youths who dogpiled on top of Araji and repeatedly beat and kicked him after he was knocked to the ground.

At some point during the attack, Araji was stabbed in the chest. He died a short time later in Lions Gates Hospital.

Prosecuting Crown lawyer Shannon Halyk said while “no one has come forward to say they stabbed Araji,” a 16-year-old who was seen brandishing a knife earlier in the altercation pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Wednesday.

According to an autopsy report, Araji died from a single stab wound that penetrated his heart and a lung, said Halyk.

Before he was stabbed, Araji was beaten by the crowd of youths and had his head smashed with a rock.

Judge Doug Moss described the swarming as “a cowardly attack” on a man who was defenceless and lying on the ground.

“For the rest of your lives, you two . . . are going to have to carry (this) with you. . . . The community will know you were the ones who were involved in this incident that resulted in the death of Araji,” Moss told Baker and Wilmarth.

Araji’s mother Yvonne and fiancee Mounira Zeidan sat in the front row of the courtroom Thursday, occasionally dabbing tears, as Halyk described Araji’s last moments.

Wilmarth and Baker’s families also attended court, sitting on the opposite side of the courtroom.

Halyk described how the fight in Waterfront Park started just before 1:30 a.m. on

June 30 after a group of up to 60 young people were “partying and drinking in the park” that night.Araji and his friend Peter Stiak were walking past the teens when one of the youths asked them, “What are you looking at?”

A verbal sparring match followed, then one of the teens put his arm around Araji

and sucker-punched him,

said Halyk. At that point, witnesses said Stiak pulled out a crowbar and “swung the crowbar at the youth who had sucker-punched Araji,” said Halyk, eventually hitting one of the teens. Another teen who was brandishing a knife began to chase Stiak, at one point lunging at him and threatening to kill him, she said.

When Stiak ran to call the SeaBus security officers a short distance away, the group of angry youths surrounded Araji. One of them, a 14-year-old who has since been charged with aggravated assault, took a large rock or piece of concrete about a foot long and smashed Araji over the head with it, stunning him and knocking him to the ground, said Halyk.

A number of the teens, including Baker and Wilmarth, then dogpiled on top of Araji and started punching and kicking him, said Halyk.

Witnesses described seeing Wilmarth “beating Araji as fast as he could,” using both hands, said Halyk. “Another witness said she saw him punch Araji in the face.”

Two witnesses described watching Baker line up and kick Araji twice in the head “then kick him again,” said Halyk. They also saw Baker kicking Araji in the ribs, back and stomach.

While neither Baker or Wilmarth delivered the fatal assault “they did take the opportunity to beat him,” she said.

Wilmarth’s lawyer Michael Mines asked the judge to consider a discharge for his client, saying he was remorseful and a criminal record would make it difficult for him to visit his father in the United States.

Wilmarth’s punching of Araji only lasted “a number of seconds,” said Mines. “He certainly wasn’t the leader of that group.”

Baker’s lawyer Sarah Rauch described Baker as having a severe drug and alcohol problem during the time when the attack took place. When he hung around with Wilmarth, “there was never any question about what they were going to do. They were going to drink heavily, every day and every night,” she said.

Rauch said Baker told her “this incident had changed his life.” The defence lawyer said her client found it difficult to read the victim impact statement from Araji’s mother. “He wants her to know how deeply he feels sorry for the incident,” said Rauch.

Rauch said Baker denies kicking Araji in the head, but admits he “snapped” when he saw his cousin get hit by Araji’s friend. “He jumped in and kicked him (Araji) four or five times.”

Moss ordered Baker not to leave his home during his three months of house arrest except with his parents or to go to a residential drug and alcohol treatment program.

Wilmarth was ordered to obey a curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. seven days a week during the first three months of his suspended sentence. Both men were banned from drinking, having contact with each other and from going to Waterfront Park. They were also ordered not to possess weapons.

Mines client successful in Skytrain Police assault case

Teacher taking SkyTrain cops to civil court

VANCOUVER COURIER
By Mike Howell-Staff writer

A 27-year-old teacher who claims two SkyTrain cops tackled her last fall and hit her in the eye with a flashlight is furious with the justice system after learning the Crown decided not to proceed with charges against the cops.

Christy Logeman, a special education teacher in Vancouver, required facial reconstructive surgery after last November’s incident, near the Stadium SkyTrain station, said her lawyer Michael Mines.

Logeman learned Wednesday the assault charges had been dropped, but a message left Thursday for Crown counsel spokesman Geoff Gaul was not returned to the Courier before deadline to explain the decision.

“She’s irate,” said Mines, who’s launched a civil suit against TransLink and the special constables on Logeman’s behalf.

According to Mines, the two SkyTrain special constables rushed Logeman from behind, pinned her to the ground and then one of them struck her with a flashlight in the face.

At the time, Mines said, Logeman was chasing her boyfriend after he stole her wallet and keys. The boyfriend, who had a court-imposed no-contact order with Logeman, took her belongings after she refused to allow him to go home with her, Mines said.

She was tackled just after she took a swing at her boyfriend with a shopping bag containing sandals. Logeman suffered a broken bone around the eye and continues to receive medical care for her injury, he said.

Mines noted his client was initially charged with assaulting the SkyTrain cops, but the charge was dropped after the SkyTrain cops couldn’t prove to Crown how Logeman specifically suffered the injury. The boyfriend was not charged.

In a rare court procedure, Logeman was then successful in getting provincial court judge Jocelyn Palmer to approve assault charges against the SkyTrain cops.

The Crown, however, decided not to proceed with the charges based on a recommendation from a Vancouver city cop investigating the incident. No
date has been set for the civil trial.

TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie said Mines’ purpose in contacting the media is to simply seek publicity and get Logeman’s name published in the Courier.

“If she’s going to proceed with the suit, why is she looking for publicity as well?” Hardie said. “TransLink and the special constables will deal with this where it should be, and that is in court.”

Hardie wouldn’t comment on the incident, but cautioned that Logeman’s story is simply based on claims at this point. He did, however, say SkyTrain cops often don’t know who is the “bad guy” or “good guy” when responding to an altercation.

“All we know is that there are two people going at each other, and in some cases it’s necessary to simply separate them and treat everybody the same way.”

TransLink employs about 70 SkyTrain cops, the majority of them retired RCMP and city cops. With about 52 million boardings a year on SkyTrain, Hardie said his office receives about 10 complaints a year of alleged wrongdoing regarding SkyTrain cops.

The New Westminster police department has an agreement with TransLink to investigate all complaints against SkyTrain cops-unlike the province’s municipal police departments, who are investigated by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner.

New Westminster police continue to investigate the allegations against the SkyTrain cops in the Logeman incident, Hardie said.

Mines client provides early information in Missing Women Case

A chilling 1998 audiotape reveals detailed information about a Port Coquitlam pig farmer charged with murdering six prostitutes who disappeared from the Downtown Eastside.

News Article online access: April, 2002 | June 2003

Pickton tape given to police in 1998

‘He’s quite the strange character, eh, very, very strange’

Suzanne Fournier
The Province
Thursday, April 25, 2002

A chilling 1998 audiotape reveals detailed information about a Port Coquitlam pig farmer charged with murdering six prostitutes who disappeared from the Downtown Eastside.

BCTV News on Global

Part of poster of Vancouver’s missing women

A copy of the tape was given to Vancouver police in 1998, yet they did not investigate Robert “Willie” Pickton until Feb. 5, 2002, when RCMP got a search warrant.

The tape obtained by The Province is of a conversation between Wayne Leng, who runs a website on the missing women from California, and Bill Hiscox, who was employed by Pickton in 1997 and 1998.

BCTV News on Global

On a 1998 tape, Bill Hiscox said it’s an odd coincidence that Pickton was charged with attempted murder of a prostitute in 1997 because of “all the girls that are going missing, and all the purses and IDs that are out there in his trailer and stuff.” Hiscox said on the
Pickton farm there are “easy places to hide things out there.” Police are now searching the farm.

Hiscox did not know until The Province contacted him this week that the tape existed.

“I’m really happy to hear it, because it proves I tried to do the right thing back in 1998, which is go to the police with my concerns about what I and other people had seen at the farm,” Hiscox said.

Hiscox tells Leng on the tape: “Listen, he [Willie Pickton] was already charged, it seems about a month ago, with trying to slash a prostitute’s throat, and stab her. And he got off the charges.”

[Pickton was charged in 1997 with attempted murder of prostitute Wendy Lynn Eistetter at the farm. Eistetter, her stomach cut open, ran to a nearby farm. Pickton was also seriously cut in the incident. The charges were stayed.]

Hiscox says it’s an odd coincidence “with all the girls that are going missing, and all the purses and IDs that are out there in his trailer and stuff. He has a 25-acre farm, a lot of heavy-duty machinery out there and stuff, you know, easy places to hide things out there. And you know, he’s quite the strange character, eh, very, very strange. His name’s Willie. He’s the owner of P & B Salvage here in Surrey. They salvage crap from old houses and stuff like that. He’s a really strange character.

“He’s got a farm out in Port Coquitlam and you know he frequents the downtown area all the time, for girls. Everything started clicking on me you know, about this guy.”

Hiscox tells Leng that he has talked to Vancouver police and that “they’re going to look into it and check this guy out for sure, here.” Hiscox says he spoke to Det. Al Howlett, head of the Vancouver police missing persons section, and the Surrey RCMP.

Hiscox tells Leng he has spoken to a friend who knows Willie, “but she doesn’t want to get involved. She’s kind of scared about it. But she told me, ‘Billy, you wouldn’t believe the IDs and shit out in that trailer. There’s women’s clothes out there, there’s purses. You know, what’s that guy doing, it is like really weird.’ ”

David Pickton, Willie’s brother, has told The Province they often bought salvage vehicles that contained women’s clothing and other personal items.

Leng said yesterday that he taped all phone calls after putting up posters seeking information about the disappearance of Sarah deVries in April 1998.

Hiscox said he phoned Leng after seeing one of the posters and thinking about the Pickton farm.

Police searching the farm have recovered human remains and alleged evidence of a serial murderer at work for several years.

Leng said he gave the tape to police in 1998, and since then 22 women have disappeared, including the six women Willie Pickton is alleged to have murdered. A total of 54 women are missing.

Pickton, 50, is charged with the murders of Sereena Abotsway, Mona Wilson, Jacquilene McDonell, Heather Bottomley, Diane Rock and Andrea Joesbury.

Ernie Crey, whose sister disappeared in late 2000 or early 2001, said he was shocked at the specific information in the tape.

“If [police] had been doing a thorough investigation, they could not have failed to understand what the tape was telling them, or find the person referred to in the tape,” said Crey.

“It hits me like a sledgehammer . . . something went deeply wrong in the Vancouver Police Department and we need to get to the bottom of it.”

Deborah Jardine’s daughter Angela disappeared in November 1998, about four months after police heard the tape.

Jardine, of Sparwood, is demanding a public inquiry.

Vancouver Det. Scott Driemel yesterday refused to answer questions about the missing women.

“We’ll not answer those sorts of questions in between the briefings,” he said.

Informant in Pickton case fails in bid to claim reward

He says police have reneged on promise to protect his family

Suzanne Fournier
The Province
Thursday, June 26, 2003

A man who gave information to police about Robert Pickton tried yesterday to claim a $100,000 reward in the missing-women murders and was immediately given the brushoff by police.

“I gave them what they needed to go after Mr. Pickton and now I’m homeless, running for my life, and the police won’t protect me,” said Scott Chubb, who worked for accused serial killer Robert Pickton and his brother Dave starting in 1994.

“I tried to apply for the reward with my police file number, and they told me to get lost. I’m going to get a lawyer to apply for me because it will force the RCMP to admit that I helped them and they promised to keep my family safe.”

Chubb provided The Province with 500 pages of transcripts of several lengthy interviews with the RCMP, in which he provides specific information about Robert Pickton and other suspects.

Port Coquitlam RCMP Cpl. Ted Van Overbeek promised Chubb protection during a third interview last Feb. 13.

“We’ve done this several times before and, uh, we will take care of you . . . we can take care of other things, other needs for you and your family,” said Van Overbeek.

“We talked about witness protection before . . . if things were to break . . . you know, helping you out, getting you re-established and that type of thing.”

Chubb — who said he would give the reward money “to the Downtown Eastside working girls” — says he won’t testify at Pickton’s trial unless RCMP reinstate witness protection for him and his family.

He is in hiding near Kamloops.

Chubb says the RCMP offered him witness protection shortly after Robert Pickton was arrested in February 2002: “The RCMP told me to grab my wife and son and jump in a cab immediately, and then they paid for us to live in hotels and then in the country for three months under witness protection — then the RCMP just kicked us out.”

The only formal claimant so far for the reward is Bill Hiscox, who worked for the Pickton brothers in their P & B Salvage business in 1998. Hiscox applied for the reward through his Vancouver lawyer, Michael Mines.

Hiscox called Vancouver police and Surrey RCMP in 1998 to tell them his suspicions about Robert “Willy” Pickton.

An audiotape obtained by The Province confirms that Hiscox told police Willy Pickton frequented the Downtown Eastside, was involved in a 1997 violent incident with a prostitute and had a Port Coquitlam farm where he stored women’s identification, clothes and purses. Pickton was charged after the alleged incident in 1997 but the charges were stayed.

Mines said that Hiscox gave police five interviews, one of which was taped, and even visited the farm with Vancouver detectives Al Howlett and Lori Shenher, who headed up the VPD attempt to find missing women.

“This is not really about the money for Bill but about the fact that back in 1998 he did the right thing by going to police,” said Mines.

Family members of some of the missing women say they passed along tips about the Pickton pig farm to police that they gleaned when they went looking for their loved ones in the Downtown Eastside.

Lynn Frey from Campbell River, whose stepdaughter Marnie Frey disappeared in 1997, said: “It seems to me the Vancouver Police Board would have to consider the information about the pig farm that was passed along to them by me and by other relatives, a long time ago after Marnie first went missing.

“It’s not about the money, which we would use to establish a safe house for women in the Downtown Eastside, but it is about getting the Vancouver police to account for what they did with the information they had.”

Police have confirmed that Marnie Frey’s remains have been found at the pig farm but no murder charges have been laid against Pickton in connection with her death.

The deadline for applying for the $100,000 reward was extended yesterday to April 30, 2004.

Const. Sarah Bloor said the reward cannot be issued until the case is closed.

Pickton’s preliminary hearing on 15 first-degree murder counts resumes Monday for an estimated two weeks.