Nfld. & Labrador

Accused Vikings granted delay ahead of drug trafficking trial

Three men accused of selling narcotics in a biker gang more than two years ago will not stand trial next month.

Postponement opens door for future application to stay charges

Members of the RNC and RCMP raided several locations around St. John's on Sept. 28, 2016, as they took swift action against the Vikings motorcycle club. (Cec Haire/CBC)

A Supreme Court judge has granted a delay in the case of three men accused of trafficking drugs for a Hells Angels affiliated biker gang.

Vince Leonard Sr., Wayne Johnson and James Curran were set to start trial on Jan. 15, but had those dates erased from the court calendar after their defence lawyers argued there wasn't enough time to deal with 60,000 pages of disclosure handed over by Crown prosecutors in October.

Vince Leonard Sr. (top left), James Curran (bottom left) and Wayne Johnson are set to stand trial in a month for drug trafficking and participating in a criminal organization. (CBC)

The delay opens a path for the defence to eventually file a Jordan application — a motion for a stay of proceedings due to a lengthy process.

If that application is filed, and is successful, the three men would never be prosecuted for the charges against them.

All trials in Supreme Court must begin within 30 months of charges being laid. For the accused Vikings, that date is coming up on March 28.

A Jordan application is only successful if the delays are the fault of the prosecution, which the defence argues is true in this case.

Pre-trial housekeeping

Before a trial can commence, defence lawyer Mike King said he needs to file an application for the Crown to turn over evidence relating to a police agent used in the investigation. On Tuesday, the judge set a date to argue the application on Feb. 4.

If King is successful, he will receive more documents and require more time to comb through them — pushing back the trial date even further.

There are several other applications which also need to be heard before a trial.

They question the covert methods used by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Royal Newfoundland Constabulary in their investigation.

The defence lawyers declined comment on Tuesday, with one of them saying they don't want to reveal their pre-trial strategies.