Murder Victim Identified as Selvin Krishna

The man stabbed to death in Maple Ridge Sunday has been identified as 36-year-old Selvin Krishna.
Cpl. Adam MacIntosh, of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, said police are trying to find out what led up to the fatal stabbing outside an apartment building.
And he said it was terrible that Krishna’s mother would have to receive such news on Mother’s Day.
Krishna had a long history with police that dates back to the 1990s.
He was named to the Most Wanted Car Thief list several times and has dozens of entries in the online court data base.
Here’s our story:

John Stirling Wins a New Trial in Florida Cocaine Case

Controversial B.C. skipper John Stirling will get one more shot at avoiding a lengthy prison term in the U.S. Despite being convicted last month by a jury of transporting 400 kilos of cocaine on the open seas, he has won a new trial in Miami.
A judge ruled that Stirling’s defence was at a big disadvantage when the prosecutor disclosed incriminating Skype conversation between Stirling and a co-accused on the last day of trial.
The problem was that Stirling had taken the stand already, concocted a story about being threatened by a Colombian cartel only to learn about the Skype conversations after the fact.

“These communications had a devastating impact,” Judge Cecelia M. Altonaga said in her ruling to grant a new trial.
“They contradicted many of Stirling’s statements made during his testimony and irreparably damaged his credibility and duress defence.”
She said that while the prosecution had technically complied with disclosure by turning over a replica of the contents of Stirling’s own computer, “the Skype chats were not readily available by opening folders appearing in the hard drive or disk.”
An FBI computer analyst called by the prosecution was able to use a program to extract the conversations, Altonaga said.
“Defense counsel, unaware of the existence of the Skype chats before the defendant’s decision was made to testify, was unable to properly prepare her client and competently advise him,” Altonaga said. “Needless to say, Stirling was found guilty of all counts and this motion follows.”

Here’s my story:
Now the Teflon skipper, whose twice ducked charges in B.C., will be back on trial in Miami Aug. 13.

Toor Just the Latest in Deadly Attacks on Dhak-Duhre Group

Metro Vancouver’s gang war has been pretty one-sided in recent months.
Since police issued a warning last September to anyone connected with the so-called Dhak-Duhre group, there have been 12 attempts on the lives of people who are directly or even loosely connected to them.
Thirty-five year old Gurbinder “Bin” Toor (pictured above at a 2009 funeral) was just the latest to be killed. The young dad had been close to the Duhre brothers since his youth. He even drove Balraj Duhre to his brother Sandip’s funeral in January.
Toor had a criminal record for trafficking, B&E, assault and uttering threats. But he had also tried to distance himself from his gangster past.
Even those trying to get away are not safe from old enemies, Supt. Tom McCluskie, of the Gang Task Force, told me Thursday.
“Violence is unfortunately all too common an occurrence between rivals in the gang world. Clearly with the number of shootings we’ve experienced here in the last several months, tension remains high,”  McCluskie said Thursday.
“It’s time to stop the violence. It’s time to walk away.  How many more have to get killed before the message sinks in?”
Here’s my latest report:
And here’s a list I compiled of the post-Kelowna attacks against the Dhak-Duhre side:

• May 30: Gurbinder Singh (Bin) Toor, 35, shot to death in Port Moody
• April 28: Thomas Gisby, 47, shot to death in Mexico
• Feb. 27: Harm Gill wounded and two others targeted in Surrey shooting
• Jan. 19: Sean Beaver shot to death in Surrey, second man wounded
• Jan. 17: Sandip (Dip) Duhre executed in the lobby of Vancouver’s Sheraton Wall Centre
• Jan. 16: UN gang member Sal Sahbaz shot to death in Mexico
• Jan. 16: Thomas Gisby targeted with explosive device near Whistler
• Oct. 22, 2011: Stephen Leone shot to death in a vehicle in Surrey. Manjinder Hairan and 15-year-old boy wounded
• Oct. 2, 2011: Billy Woo found slain near Squamish
• Sept. 16, 2011: Jujhar Khun-Khun critically wounded in Surrey shooting


Crime Stats Down Across Canada, Except for the Murder Rates

Stats Can issued its annual report on crime stats Tuesday. There was a lot of good news about how the overall crime rates were down to near historic lows in 2011.
But there was some bad news too. The murder rate was up seven percent across Canada and four percent in B.C. for 2011 over 2010.
As I was calling around to get some reaction to that, I was told by Insp. Kevin Hackett, of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, that the first six months of 2012 were even worse for his squad with 23 murders over 13 in the same period as last year. More of them were linked to organized crime, he said.
Here’s my story on the murder stats:
Here’s the overall crime stat story:
Read the Stats Can report here:

Johal Should Get 12-15 Years in Cocaine Conspiracy: Lawyer

Shminder Johal should not get anywhere near the 20 year sentence the Crown is urging in the five-year-old drug smuggling case.
His lawyer, Danny Markovitz, said Tuesday that a sentence in the range of 12 to 15 years would be more appropriate for Johal’s role as the “overseer” of the cross-border movement of 208 kilos of cocaine.
And Markovitz said a co-accused who pleaded guilty in 2010, Herman Riar, got a way higher sentence than he should have. Riar received a 12-year term after a joint submission by his lawyer and Crown. Markovitz said he Riar had gone to trial, he likely would ahve got less – somewhere in the six to 10 range. He said Riar only agreed to the longer term because he had been told he would likely be extradited to the U.S. – where he would get even MORE time – if he didn’t plead guilty.  But the U.S. Attorney’s office later admitted it had no plans to extradite the Canadians. 
The Riar sentence has impacted the terms the others are expected to receive, Markovitz said.
Johal at one point pleaded guilty in this case, then applied to have his guilty plea withdrawn, which was successful.
He will be on his way to jail Friday when Justice Selwyn Romilly hands down the sentences for both Johal and former border guard Baljinder Kandola.
Here’s my latest story:

Court Updates: Former Reporter Guilty of Sex Abuse, Mountie Acquitted

 In Surrey Provincial Court, former Global TV reporter Ron Bencze pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a boy over a period of years. He had been facing a series of charges in connection with other children as well, but those are now expected to be stayed.
Bencze, who was fired from his job after being charged, apologized through his lawyer for his actions. Victim impact statements from the child he had abused, as well as the now-teenager’s mom, were read.
The Crown wants two to three years behind bars, while Bencze’s lawyer is asking for a conditional sentence.
Here’s our story from the Surrey Now:
Meanwhile, in Kelowna, RCMP Const. Geoff Mantler, infamously caught on camera kicking a local man in January 2011, was acquitted of assault in another incident dating back to Aug. 2010.

In his decision, provincial court Judge Mark Takahashi called the complainant’s testimony inconsistent, unreliable, vague and unsure.
Mantler faces a second assault trial this fall for kicking incident. He is suspended without pay.
Here’s a wire story:

Court updates from Dhak in Vancouver to Stirling in Florida

I just want to update you on a few court cases that I have been covering.
The Sukh Dhak, Baljit Pabla and Neville Rankin MDMA conspiracy case is now adjourned until Nov. 19th at the Vancouver Law Courts. It is still scheduled to end in December and this break in the case was always planned.
The extradition hearing against accused cocaine smuggler  Rob Sidhu is set for two hours on Nov. 29 in Superior Court in Montreal. I don’t believe Sidhu got bail, but was unable to confirm that with court officials over the phone today. And in Seattle, where Sidhu is facing charges of conspiracy to export and distribute cocaine, a defence lawyer made an appearance on behalf of the ex-Mountie on Oct. 17th. That is the first activity on the file since the indictment against Sidhu was unsealed in Aug. 24.
Also in the U.S., embattled B.C. skipper John (Phil) Stirling is again fighting in a Florida court hoping to get the cocaine smuggling charges against him thrown out on the grounds that the U.S. did not have jurisdiction to stop him on the high seas in the fall of 2011. All of Stirling’s co-accused have now been convicted, as he was once. A second trial was ordered after some disclosure issues arose following his first conviction. He will be back in a Miami court for his trial on December 3.
The men connected to the Hells Angels in Kelowna will be back at the Vancouver Law Courts Nov. 29, for a pre-trial conference.  Kelowna Hells Angels vice-president David Giles and club associate Kevin Van Kalkeren remain in custody.  Murray Trekofski, James Howard, Michael Read, Orhan Saydam, Shawn Womacks and Hells Angel member Brian Oldham are on bail. Giles, Van Kalkeren, Howard and Read are charged with conspiracy to import cocaine and trafficking in association with a criminal organization – the Hells Angels. Oldham, Womacks, Trekofski and Saydam are charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking in association with the biker gang. Oldham facing an additional count of conspiracy to traffic cocaine.

Man shot dead after incident with Vancouver Police

Vancouver Police were involved in a fatal shooting in the near East Hastings and Skeena about 8:15 p.m. The Independent Investigations Office is taking over the case.
“When the first officer  arrived he was confronted by a man who was holding a knife,” VPD Sgt. Randy Fincham said in a release. “The man was subsequently shot by police. The man was taken to hospital by paramedics where he died.”
 Here is the full release from the IIOBC:
The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) confirms that investigators have been deployed in response to an officer involved shooting in the city of Vancouver.
On Oct. 29, 2012, at approximately 20:15 hours (8:15 p.m.), Vancouver City Police (VPD) responded to a report in the 400 block of Skeena Street. When police arrived, they were confronted by a male. During the course of this exchange with police, the subject male was shot. He was taken to hospital, however he did not survive his injures.
At 21:05 hours (9:05 p.m.), the IIO was notified about the incident and has been deployed to the scene. The IIO and the involved police service (VPD) are expected to work co-operatively within the terms agreed upon in the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by the Chief Civilian Director and B.C.’s police services in July 2012.
Information related to the deceased remains under the jurisdiction of the BC Coroners Service. Further information regarding the IIO investigation will be made available Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.
As set by the Chief Civilian Director, the IIO’s goals are to conduct fair, unbiased, timely, thorough and competent investigations and ensure transparency through public reporting.

Plowman, Swallow get 7 years, Miazga gets 5 for killing Tyson Edwards

Three men who stabbed a young men to death outside a Vancouver nightclub have been sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Victor Curtis on Friday sentenced Patrick Plowman, 33 and Nolan Swallow, 32 to seven years in prison for the slaying of 21-year-old Tyson Edwards in February 2009.
 Another man Sebastien Miazga, 27 was sentenced to five years in prison.
 The men all face a lifetime weapons ban and must submit DNA tests, said Crown spokeswoman Samantha Hulme.
 During the trial, court heard that Edwards was swarmed as he left Richards on Richards, was punched in the head and chest, then kicked and stabbed as he fell to the ground.
Last month the three men were convicted of manslaughter in what prosecutor Brendan McCabe called a “brutal and vicious” attack against a helpless man in front of a crowd of spectators.

Rob Sidhu makes first appearance in a Seattle courtroom

A former B.C. Mountie facing cocaine smuggling charges in the United States made his first appearance in a Seattle courtroom Tuesday.
Rapinder Singh Sidhu, 45, was handed over to the Americans – 18 months after charges against him were made public in Washington state.
Sidhu was acquitted in Surrey Provincial Court in November of impersonating a police officer to get information about the Bacon brothers out of a protected police data base.
But just two weeks later, a judge in Montreal – where Sidhu has been living for more than a year – ordered him sent to the U.S. Sidhu waived his appeals, allowing for his surrender this week.
Sidhu entered a not guilty plea during his brief appearance in Seattle Tuesday. He was ordered detained pending a jury trial set for April 29.
Sidhu, a former undercover drug cop who has links to several gangsters, was charged in August 2011 with being a leader of the international drug gang with links to the Hells Angels.
The U.S. indictment alleges that beginning at least by the middle of 2007 until at least May 2008, Sidhu worked with convicted B.C. smugglers Rob Shannon and Devron Quast “to operate a cocaine transportation organization based in British Columbia.”
“On a regular basis during this time period, the B.C. cocaine organization exported, and attempted to export, loads of cocaine from the United States to Canada,” the indictment says. “The cocaine was concealed in vans and recreational vehicles.”
The indictment also claims that Sidhu, who quit the RCMP in 2003 in the middle of an internal investigation, “recruited an employee of the Canada Border Services Agency, who agreed to allow and did allow vehicles containing cocaine to pass through his lane at the Lynden/Aldergrove Port of Entry.”
Border guard Jaspal Grewal, pleaded guilty in a Seattle courtroom last year. Both Shannon and Quast earlier pleaded guilty to their roles in the smuggling organization.