Mistrial spectre raised

Issues continue to plague the Jonathan Bacon murder trial, leading the defence to threaten a mistrial application Tuesday.

Michael Jones, Jason McBride and Jujhar Khun-Khun are accused of gunning down Jonathan Bacon in the busy courtyard of Kelowna's Delta Grand Hotel on Aug. 14, 2011.

After several delays, the trial started in May 2017, almost six years after the shooting left Bacon dead and Hells Angel Larry Amero and two other women injured.

Following complaints from defence last week that the Crown has not provided full disclosure of its evidence, a “large volume of material” was turned over on the weekend, according to Crown prosecutor Dave Ruse. The majority is police notes from discussions with witnesses.

Defence has taken issue with the delay in receiving notes relating to "Vetrovec witnesses," those whose criminal histories put their credibility in question.

In the most recent set of notes they received, defence learned the mother of Witness A, who took the stand in July, was given $1,300 from the government to visit her son while he was in jail. This was one of several benefits the witness was given in exchange for testifying against the accused, and defence says they should have been privy to this information before they cross-examined him.

“(He's) already come and gone and testified,” said defence counsel Vicki Williams. “That may have affected the way the witness would have been cross-examined.

“With the way the disclosure has been managed, this trial is heading towards a mistrial application.”

Justice Allan Betton said he would deal with a mistrial application if and when one is submitted, but until then, he will focus on ensuring things run smoother going forward.

Betton told the Crown they must ensure police disclose their notes every week, rather than every six months.

“It needs to be impressed upon those creating those notes this isn't a suggestion, it isn't an option, it isn't a rough guideline, it's an absolute requirement,” Justice Betton said.

The trial is set to take a scheduled break the week of Sept. 11, meaning the cross-examination of Witness B, who testified last week, may not occur until Sept. 18.

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