B.C. Appeal Court sends Jamie Bacon to trial on Surrey Six murder charge
Reasons for decision sealed after extraordinary secret hearing
B.C.'s Court of Appeal ordered Jamie Bacon to stand trial in the Surrey Six case Thursday after overturning a lower court decision to stay murder and conspiracy charges.
In a brief statement posted to the court's website, the court said it had found in favour of the Crown following an extraordinary hearing that was held behind closed doors because of the nature of the issues under appeal.
"As a consequence of issues of various privileges and confidential information, the British Columbia Supreme Court judgment is sealed and the hearing of the appeal was in camera," the statement said.
"The multiple issues of confidentiality means that our full reasons for judgment must be sealed and only an abbreviated version complying with the obligations of confidentiality may be released 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 Oct. 19, 2007 at the Balmoral Tower apartment building in Surrey.
'Public interest requires an appeal'
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kathleen Ker's original decision to issue the stay during pre-trial proceedings in 2017 went largely unexplained after a series of proceedings held largely out of the public eye.
An abbreviated version of Ker's ruling suggested that Bacon's lawyers had somehow come to possess privileged information that affected Bacon'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.
In deciding to appeal Ker's decision, Crown prosecutors cited both the public interest and what they claimed were errors in law.
"A reasonable argument can be made that the ruling would not necessarily have been issued if the errors were not made and … the public interest requires an appeal," the prosecution said in a press release at the time.
The gangland hit ended the lives of six men, including four with criminal backgrounds and two innocent bystanders: 22-year-old Chris Mohan and 55-year-old Ed Schellenberg.