Nfld. & Labrador

Accused Vikings gang members make application to toss out drug charges

Lawyers for three men accused of trafficking drugs for a Hells Angels-affiliated biker gang are looking to have their charges thrown out of Supreme Court.

3 men file Jordan application, saying court delays hampered right to timely trial

James Curran, left, covers his face in Supreme Court in St. John's on Wednesday. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Lawyers for three men accused of trafficking drugs for a Hells Angels-affiliated biker gang are looking to have their charges thrown out of Supreme Court. 

Mike King, representing Vince Leonard Sr., Mark Gruchy, on behalf of his client Wayne Johnson, and John Hartery, the lawyer for James Curran, made the application in Supreme Court in St. John's this week. 

The argument is that the Crown has taken too long to take the case to trial.

The three men were arrested on Sept. 28, 2016, as part of a citywide raid nicknamed Project Bombard that saw a dozen arrested. Under the Jordan Decision, court proceedings longer than 18 months in provincial court and 30 months in Supreme court could be thrown out.

Justice David Hurley will make a decision on the application on Monday morning.

If a trial does go ahead, it would be set to end on May 10 — meaning 31½ months since the charges were laid.

From right, Crown attorney Elaine Reid and defence attorneys Mark Gruchy, Mike King and John Hartery. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Gruchy argued in court on Wednesday that 60,000 pages of disclosure for the case took 10 months to make its way into his hands from the Crown's office. 

As established by similar cases around the country, any delays that are the fault of the defence cannot be used to benefit the defendant.

Crown prosecutor Elaine Reid disputed Gruchy's claim, telling the court it took nine months, not 10, to hand over the disclosure. She argued that due to defence delays and the complexity of the case, they should get more time and the case should proceed to trial.

Some of the men arrested in Project Bombard have already been convicted of trafficking drugs. Two have been exonerated, though the Crown is appealing the acquittal of Shane Leonard.

Leonard, Curran and Johnson are the last three to be dealt with.

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