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Kelowna  

Hells Angel found guilty

A Kelowna Hells Angels member has been found guilty of numerous weapons charges.

Joseph Bruce Skreptak was recently released following his incarceration for a separate incident in which he was sentenced to 26 months in June 2013 for aggravated assault.

Also found guilty of weapons charges alongside Skreptak on Tuesday was Cory Montemurro.

The pair were stopped by police in November 2010 near Salmon Arm after an officer smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle during a routine traffic stop. A later search of the rental SUV found three handguns, a sawed off shotgun, baseball bat, body armour, balaclavas, knives, two walkie-talkies, bear spray and a cell phone jammer. Two other men who were also in the vehicle on Nov. 25 had charges against them dropped.

At one point Skreptak took the stand in his own defence and told Justice Geoff Barrow that he did not know about any of the weapons found throughout the vehicle. He denied all knowledge of any goings on or conversations about any of the weapons and said he did not look in any of the places where the weapons were found. Asked how it came that police found a sock containing latex gloves and bullets to a .38-caliber restricted handgun on Skreptak, he stated that when they were pulled over, someone in the car said, “hide that sock Skrep”.

Skreptak told the court he was unsure who said it, but he instinctively did as he was told. The gun that the bullets matched was not found in the car, but was found tossed in the snow about 15 feet from where the group was taken into custody on the side of the highway near Salmon Arm.

In his decision, Justice Barrow stated he had great difficulty believing Skreptak’s testimony and found the entire account of his events to be “improbable”.

Barrow also brought up Skreptak’s reasoning for their trip that night, stating he was looking for property closer to Quesnel, so his common law could be closer to her family. But Salmon Arm is not much closer to Quesnel than Kelowna, causing Barrow to doubt his testimony. Further adding skepticism to Skreptak’s account of that night included his driving to see a property at night, with no flashlight, and with men who Skreptak admitted to barely knowing.

Furthermore, Barrow said it was “beyond belief” that Skreptak never asked who the other men in the car were, or why they were coming along with him to look at property in the dead of winter.

“As noted, I don’t believe Mr. Skreptak’s evidence.”

The Crown had argued that all four men had been involved in a joint enterprise, pointing out how curious it was that four guns were found in the car, along with other items typically used for nefarious activities.

In the end, Justice Barrow found Skreptak guilty on 11 weapons charges and one count of marijuana possession, while Montemurro was found guilty of 11 weapons charges.

Barrow explained that while the Crown’s case was entirely circumstantial – except for two of the charges – he was satisfied the accused jointly owned all items found in the rental vehicle.

The men will be back in court next month to set a sentencing date, some of the charges carry a mandatory minimum of three years in prison.

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