Nova Scotia

Hells Angels hit case still before the courts — 17 years after shooting

It has been more than 17 years since Sean Eamann Simmons, 31, was gunned down in the lobby of a Dartmouth apartment building in a Hells Angels hit.

Prosecution ended this week against one suspect; another seeking lawyer for retrial on murder charge

(Robert Short/CBC)

It has been more than 17 years since Sean Eamonn Simmons, 31, was gunned down in the lobby of a Dartmouth, N.S., apartment building in a Hells Angels hit, but the case against of two of the men accused in his killing has still been winding through the courts.

Earlier this week, charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder against Steven Gerald Gareau were stayed in Nova Scotia Supreme Court, which means he no longer faces prosecution in the case.

Gareau has already been twice tried and convicted of murder, first in 2004 and then 2014, but each conviction was overturned on appeal.

Just before Christmas, the Crown and defence were arguing pre-trial issues in preparation for a third jury trial. On Wednesday, the charge against Gareau was stayed.

Gareau did not pull the trigger. He argued at previous trials that he did not even know there was a plan to kill Simmons that day. Gareau said he was only meeting Simmons for a drug deal.

Suspected gunman

Meanwhile, the man accused of actually shooting Simmons, Dean Daniel Kelsie, is still trying to secure a lawyer for his retrial on a murder charge.

At Kelsie's first trial, the jury heard evidence that Simmons was killed because he allegedly had an affair with the girlfriend of a Hells Angel.

Kelsie was convicted of both murder and conspiracy to commit murder in March 2003. While he filed notice right away of his intention to appeal his conviction, it took 13 years for that appeal to be heard.

In December, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal ruled Kelsie was entitled to a new trial.

On Thursday, a representative of Nova Scotia Legal Aid appeared in Nova Scotia Supreme Court to say Kelsie had been approved for funding and is trying to secure the services of a Toronto-based defence lawyer.

The case will return next month so the court can be updated on Kelsie's search for legal representation and trial dates can be discussed.

Two other men, Neil William Smith and Wayne Alexander James, are both serving life sentences for their roles in Simmons's killing.