HA convictions upheld

A judge has denied an application to have convictions in a cocaine importation conspiracy dropped against two Kelowna Hells Angels and two associates, stating the lengthy trial was justified.

Kelowna Hells Angels David Giles and Brian Oldham, along with associates James Howard and Shawn Womacks, were convicted of several drug related charges, following a 20-month investigation, involving Canadian, American, Mexican and Panamanian law enforcement agencies, and a lengthy trial.

The men were first charged in August 2012 and convicted in September 2016.

Giles was found guilty of conspiracy to import 200 kilograms of cocaine into Canada from South America and conspiracy to traffic cocaine, while both Giles, Oldham, Howard and Womacks were convicted of possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

The convicted men argued that the four-year case was too long and breached their right to a fair trial.

In her BC Supreme Court decision, Justice Carol Ross found that the lengthy trial was justified, as the case was particularly complex.

“I find that the time that has been taken to litigate this matter is justified, and that the delay was reasonable in all of the circumstances,” Ross wrote in her judgement. “I note that, given the nature of the evidence, there is no suggestion that the fair trial rights of the applicants have been prejudiced by fading memory, unavailable witnesses, lost or degraded evidence as a result of the passage of time.”

Sentencing for the four men will take place over the next two months.

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