Nova Scotia

Supreme Court of Canada asked to hear Hells Angels hitman case

Dean Daniel Kelsie, 44, was found guilty in the October 2000 death of Sean Simmons in Dartmouth, N.S., but the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal overturned the convictions.

Nova Scotia Crown seeks to appeal ruling in Dartmouth murder case

The Supreme Court of Canada has not yet decided whether to hear the case of Dean Daniel Kelsie. (Canadian Press)

The Crown has formally applied to the Supreme Court of Canada to appeal the case of a man accused of being a Hells Angels hitman.

Dean Daniel Kelsie, 44, was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the October 2000 death of Sean Simmons, who was gunned down in the lobby of an apartment building in north-end Dartmouth, N.S.

Last year, Kelsie's convictions were overturned by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal and a new trial ordered.

Efforts to schedule that trial have been hampered by Kelsie's attempts to get a lawyer, and by the possibility of a Crown appeal hanging over the case.

On Thursday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court, prosecutor Peter Craig said the Crown filed its application documents to Canada's highest court a few weeks ago.

There's no word on when or even if the Supreme Court will hear the case. Unlike lower courts, the Supreme Court has the discretion to simply refuse to hear a matter, without giving any explanation.

'Returning and returning'

With the appeal issue temporarily resolved, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court turned its attention to scheduling a new trial for Kelsie.

"It's very unfortunate that this keeps returning and returning," Justice Denise Boudreau said.

With the help of Nova Scotia Legal Aid, Kelsie is trying to hire Toronto defence lawyer Philip Campbell. Kelsie's matter will return to court later this month to update his progress. If Campbell is hired, his first task could be to represent Kelsie before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Kelsie has been in custody since his arrest in 2001.

At his first trial in 2003, the jury heard that Simmons was shot to death because he'd allegedly had an affair with the wife of a Hells Angel. Kelsie was accused of pulling the trigger.

2 others convicted

Two other men, Neil William Smith and Wayne Alexander James, are both serving life sentences for their roles in Simmons's killing. A fourth man, Steven Gareau, was set free earlier this year after a judge ended the prosecution against him.

Gareau had been twice found guilty of first-degree murder, but both convictions were overturned on appeal. In February, a judge ruled that it would be unfair to subject Gareau to a third trial.

About the Author

Blair Rhodes

Reporter

Blair Rhodes has been a journalist for more than 35 years, the last 27 with CBC. His primary focus is on stories of crime and public safety. He can be reached at blair.rhodes@cbc.ca