A B.C. Supreme Court judge has stayed murder and conspiracy charges against gangster Jamie Bacon in the Surrey Six killings, at least partly because of how RCMP investigators handled confidential information.
The full reasons for Justice Kathleen Ker's decision have been sealed by the court. However, an abbreviated ruling reveals that Bacon's lawyers had somehow come to possess privileged information that affected the accused killer's right to a fair trial but could not be used in his defence.
"In part this arose from the manner in which the police handled aspects of privileged and confidential information," Ker wrote.
The exact nature of that information and how the RCMP might have mishandled it is not clear, as most of the proceedings were conducted in a courtroom that was closed to the public.
Bacon had been charged with first degree murder and conspiracy to commit the murder of Corey Lal, one of six people who were killed on October 19, 2007 at the Balmoral Tower apartment building in Surrey.
2 innocent victims
The victims of the gangland hit included four men with criminal backgrounds as well as two innocent bystanders: 22-year-old Chris Mohan and 55-year-old Ed Schellenberg.
Mohan's mother, Eileen Mohan, learned of the stay of proceedings against Bacon on Friday morning.
"I'm just outraged. All my insides are burning like a fever. I have to cool down and start to think, where do we go from here? What happened?" she said.
"During these 10 years, I held my head up so high, that I believe in the justice system, I believe that the courts will deliver justice for me ... unlike today's verdict, which is just so unacceptable."
Crown prosecutors will be reviewing the decision to determine whether to file an appeal, according to spokesperson Dan McLaughlin.
"While the matter is under consideration by the prosecution service, we won't be commenting," he said.
No peace for the families
Attorney General David Eby, on the other hand, said he was shocked and tremendously disappointed by the decision.
"The families of the victims and all who have been impacted by this terrible crime deserve peace, and they will not find it today," Eby said in a statement.
Two other men are now serving life sentences with no chance of parole for 25 years in connection with the murders. Cody Haevischer and Matthew Johnston were convicted in 2014 of six counts of first degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.
Bacon remains in custody on a separate charge of counselling the murder of an individual and has not applied for bail.
Allegations of police misconduct
This isn't the first time that the alleged behaviour of RCMP officers has complicated the prosecution of the Surrey Six slayings.
Four Mounties have been charged with breach of trust, obstruction of justice and fraud in connection with their investigation of the case. Derek Brassington, Paul Johnston, David Attew and Danny Michaud are all accused of sexual contact with protected witnesses in the case.
With files from Michelle Ghoussoub