The Surrey Six massacre is known for being one of the most horrific gang killings in Canadian history. The reaction to the stay of proceedings was public outrage. Close to but not quite Ghomeshi level. The judgment is unpopular but just and necessary in a case that came to be defined by confidential informants, police misconduct and trial fairness.
The public should brace themselves for more outrage. This is not the last that we’ve heard of the Surrey Six.
On Dec. 1, 2017, Justice Kathleen Ker of the B.C. Supreme Court ordered that the conspiracy and murder charges against Jamie Bacon be stayed. This is one of the most drastic remedies in a criminal proceeding. Not only
was this ordered in an extraordinary case, but the reasons for the stay were not published, contrary to the open court principle. A unique issue arose when defence counsel came into possession of privileged information pertaining to a confidential informant. This is likely what the judgment turned on. Justice Ker found that the Crown was unable to call “Person X.” As a result of this and other privileged information, defence was unable to use this information, infringing Bacon’s s. 7 Charter trial fairness rights in the name of protecting Crown privilege (protection of witnesses).
Originally Published in The Lawyer’s Daily on Thursday, January 11, 2018