Straight to trial for three accused in Throttle Lockers investigation

No prelim for biker accused

Prosecutors are using a special legal power typically reserved for the most serious and complicated cases against a trio of men charged in connection with a years-long probe into an alleged Kamloops biker gang.

Federal Crown prosecutors are proceeding by direct indictment against Zale Coty, 53, Jacob Cavanagh, 29, and Shawn Carlisle, 49. The three men are facing serious drug trafficking charges connected to an investigation into the Throttle Lockers, described by police as a puppet club of the Hells Angels.

At a news conference last month, police said they thwarted an attempt by the Throttle Lockers to establish a clubhouse in Kamloops. Mounties named Coty, Cavanagh and Carlisle as accused following a complex trafficking investigation related to the group.

Coty is facing three counts each of trafficking in a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking, as well as a single count of conspiracy to traffic a controlled substance. Cavanagh is facing one count each of conspiracy to traffic and possession for the purpose of trafficking, while Carlisle faces three counts of trafficking.

During a brief hearing in B.C. Supreme Court on Tuesday, federal Crown prosecutor Oren Bick confirmed direct indictment is being used against Coty, Cavanagh and Carlisle.

Direct indictment is a special legal power available to prosecutors that can only be approved by the attorney general or their deputy. It sends a prosecution straight to trial, taking away an accused person’s right to a preliminary inquiry.

Preliminary inquiries are hearings at which prosecutors typically present a bare-bones version of their case, after which a judge decides whether there is enough evidence to proceed to trial. The hearings serve as a safeguard against false allegations and also allow defence lawyers a sneak peek at the Crown’s case, often very useful in preparing for a trial.

Direct indictments are typically used in cases that are extremely complex or reliant on extensive wire tap evidence, though there is nothing to indicate that is the case with Coty, Cavanagh and Carlisle.

The most recent high-profile example of direct indictment being used at the Kamloops Law Courts was in the Five Guys case.

Coty, Cavanagh and Carlisle are expected to make a first appearance in B.C. Supreme Court on Aug. 29.

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