Wednesday, 24 May 2017

A Canadian criminal court judge screwed up                                                         

Please note that in this article, I am going to refer to the shooter as BB, and a woman in the cab at the time of the shooting as CC so that their real identities won’t be known as per the order of the court. 

Early one Sunday morning in July 2007, Shawn James (the victim) was walking outside an apartment building on Bleecker Street in Toronto. A Beck Taxi with dark-tinted rear windows rolled up the street. Boysie Murray was the driver. (Boysie Murray is herein referred to as Murray) CC was the front seat passenger. BB a youth at that time was the only passenger in the rear seat.

The occupants of the Beck Taxi (borrowed from the cab driver by Murray) that early Sunday morning in July 2007 were well known to each other. They shared an interest in crack cocaine. CC was a crack addict who supported her habit by acts of prostitution. BB and Boysie Murray were drug dealers.

The taxi stopped as Shawn James walked along the street. The rear window opened. BB fired three shots from a semi-automatic 9 mm handgun. One of the shots struck and killed Shawn James. The taxi then drove off.

 All three of the occupants of the taxi were arrested. Each was charged with first degree murder. BB pleaded guilty to first degree murder in Youth Court. He received a youth sentence of ten years. CC pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to the murder of Shawn James. She received a sentence of time served. (7 years)  Murray was sentenced to life in prison but he can apply for parole after serving 25 years. 

In large measure, the case for the Crown relied upon the evidence of CC. By the time of the trial, CC had ceased drug use and prostitution, upgraded her educational qualifications and was a second-year student at a community college.

CC provided information about the events that preceded the killing, the killing itself and what followed the shooting of Shawn James. Her testimony furnished the basis for the Crown’s claim that Boysie Murray aided BB in the planned and deliberate murder of Shawn James.                             

It was the evidence of CC that as she, Boysie Murray and BB. drove downtown Toronto in the Beck Taxi, Murray asked her to phone Shawn James on a cellphone. CC was unable to do so because her own cellphone, which contained James’ number, was still at Vanier Correctional Centre from which she had recently been released.

According to CC, as Murray drove the taxi up Bleecker Street, he said “there he is”. Murray drove around the block and drove up Bleecker Street a second time. Murray stopped the taxi near the walkway to 375 Bleecker. James walked in front of the taxi heading towards the front entrance of the building. CC. heard the rear window of the taxi being rolled down. She then heard shots. James fell to the ground.

  Murray asked BB. whether he had “got him”. BB said that he had. Murray accelerated away and headed back to the Scarborough apartment building from which they had departed for downtown. En-route, Murray stopped the cab and told CC. to clean the car. This she did.

 When CC., Murray and BB returned to the apartment, the driver whose cab they had used to go downtown to “re-up” their drug supply was still there. Murray and BB took off their sweatshirts. Each was wearing a bulletproof vest. CC fell asleep. When she woke up, she saw news coverage of the shooting of Shawn James on a local television channel. Murray was speaking on a telephone. CC. heard him say “the General is dead.”

The trial counsel for Boysie Murray challenged the credibility of CC and the reliability of her evidence. In essence, the lawyer alleged that CC was desirous of a favourable disposition on her original charge of first degree murder and for this reason; she concocted evidence against Murray, supplementing her original account with further details that implicated Murray as an aider and abettor of James’ murder with knowledge in advance of BB’s plan to shoot and kill James.

 The Crown also called BB as a witness at the trial. He was represented by a lawyer when he previously entered his guilty plea. His lawyer acknowledged, as did BB that the Agreed Statement of Facts read at the plea and sentencing proceedings correctly stated what had occurred.

At trial, BB read from the Agreed Statement of Facts filed in support of his guilty plea. He admitted that he shot Shawn James, but said that he never “accepted” the contents of the Agreed Statement of Facts. It was his evidence, oft-repeated, that he shot Shawn James when the opportunity to do arose. He said that neither Boysie Murray nor CC. knew in advance of the shooting what BB was doing.

I find that statement hard to believe. If Murray didn’t know that BB Was going to shoot the victim, why did he drive the cab to the scene and then drive around the block to where the victim was walking and then stop the cab? Why was he and Murray wearing a bullet-proof vest at the time of the shooting?  Why did Murray ask BB if he got the victim?  BB lied in his testimony re Murray’s non-participation in the shooting because BB didn’t want to be known as a rat.

 BB refused to answer questions about where and from whom he had obtained the gun he used to shoot Shawn James and from whom he bought drugs. In each case, he based his refusal on a concern for his life if he revealed his sources. I believe that was a genuine concern. 

  In some respects, his account was contradicted by the photographic record obtained from surveillance cameras in the taxi and at the Scarborough apartment building from which he CC. and Murray left and to which they returned after the shooting.

BB denied several specific allegations advanced by the Crown to establish Murray’s guilt as a party to a planned and deliberate murder. In particular, BB denied: (1)   that the dispute about the drug-dealing terrain on Bleecker Street involved Murray as well as himself with James; (2) that the occupants of the cab had first spotted James on Bleecker Street, then circled the block a second time before the shooting; (3)  that Murray said anything, in particular, “there he is”, before the shooting and had asked whether he (BB.) “got him” after the shots were fired; and (4) that Murray said “the General is dead” when a news report of the shooting appeared on the television at the Scarborough apartment.  

His statement that the cab they were in didn’t circle the street before BB shot their victim was obviously a lie since the cameras in the cab would show that the cab did circle the street.  I am surprised that he wasn’t charged with perjury.

Boysie Murray ( later referred to as “the appellant”) advanced five grounds of appeal. The appellant contended that the trial judge erred:

i.            by requiring the trial of the challenges for cause to be conducted by static triers if unsworn jurors were to be excluded from the courtroom during the challenge for cause procedure;

ii.            by frequently and improperly intervening and expressing opinions about the credibility of BB. and the reliability of his evidence, thus rendering the trial unfair;

iii.           in giving a  caution to the jury in connection with the evidence of BB., who was favourable to the defence, and in failing to point out evidence that was confirmatory of his testimony;

iv.         in permitting the Crown to put before the jury CC previous statements and further in instructing the jury that the testimony of CC. was enhanced by her previous consistent statements; and

v.            in misdirecting the jury on the standard of proof required to establish guilt.

The Challenge for Cause

It was common ground that a race-based challenge for cause was warranted at trial. The challenge proceeded on the basis of a single question to be asked of each prospective juror by trial counsel for the appellant. Murray is a black man.  Were they prejudiced against Murray because he was black?

The Selection of Triers of the Challenge

 In an appearance about three weeks before jury selection was to begin, the trial judge inquired of counsel (defence lawyer and the crown—the prosecutor) whether they had agreed on the method by which the trial of the challenge for cause would be determined. The trial judge described the available options in these terms:

The  question asked was, “Do you want the panel in or out? In other words, are you agreed to so-called static jurors as opposed to rotating? Because if you want rotating jurors, then I usually leave the whole panel in during the process.”

I will explain what is meant by static jurors.              

The Centuries-old method used in Canadian courtrooms to select a jury when the Crown or defence makes a “challenge for cause,” which often means determining whether the jurors are able to judge the accused without bias.   But first, the jurors have to be picked.                              

Prior to 2008, the only way to do that was to select two names from the jury pool who then become known as the “triers.” They then listen to a prospective juror being asked whether he or she can decide the case without bias. If the answer is yes, then they give their approval for the new juror to sit on the jury based on the response unless the crown (prosecutor) or defence lawyer objects to that particular juror sitting as a juror. Then one of the original two jurors leaves the courtroom and the remaining original juror and the third one decides on a fourth juror. Then the second original juror leaves the court room and the third and fourth juror decide on the fifth juror.  The procedure changed in 2008. Now both original jurors remain as part of the jury that is going to hear the case. They are referred to as the “static triers.” They alone pick the remaining jurors.

The appellant’s lawyer argued that the trial judge erred in ruling that if counsel wanted the unsworn prospective jurors excluded from the courtroom during the selection process, the trial of the challenge for cause would be determined by static triers. Treating the method by which the trial of the challenge would be determined as a binary choice, dependent on whether counsel wished unsworn prospective jurors in or out of the courtroom during the selection process was wrong.

 According to the appellant’s lawyer, where a challenge for cause is tried by rotating triers, (jurors) a trial judge has a discretion to exclude unsworn prospective jurors from the courtroom during the selection process. The amendment which created the static triers mode of trial of the challenge for cause – s. 640(2.1) – neither expressly nor impliedly ousted the well-established discretion of the trial judge to exclude unsworn jurors from the courtroom during the selection process using rotating triers. Exclusion preserves and promotes the impartiality of the selection process.

To put the available procedures as a binary choice is wrong in law. Its effect was to deprive the appellant of an available choice and his preferred method of trial, rotating jurors, with the unsworn prospective jurors excluded from the courtroom.

In the end, the appellant’s lawyer argued that he was forced to select a mode of trial of the challenge – static triers – for which he never expressed a preference, in order to preserve and promote the impartiality of the selection process by excluding unsworn prospective jurors from the courtroom during selection. This prophylactic measure was also available when the challenge was tried by his preferred method—rotating triers. The denial of this option created an unfair selection process and warrants a new trial.

Let me explain this better. Lawyers for the defence or crown can ask the court to dismiss a prospective juror for any reason that the lawyer thinks the juror will be prejudiced against his or her client.

However the static triers ( jurors ) who decided who sits on the jury aren’t asked a question by the defence or the crown if they are prejudiced against the defendant. 

The respondent (Crown) countered with the submission that although the trial judge did not expressly offer the appellant the option of choosing rotating triers with the unsworn prospective jurors excluded from the courtroom during the selection process, he (the trial judge) did not preclude defence counsel from seeking such a procedure for jury selection. The trial judge explained that with rotating triers he “usually” left the unsworn prospective jurors in the courtroom during selection, not that he always did so. Defence counsel never made submissions seeking any departure from the trial judge’s “usual” rule.

 In this case, the Crown had argued that the defence counsel was offered ample opportunity to decide on the mode of trial of the challenge. He chose static triers with the unsworn prospective jurors excluded from the courtroom during selection. The appellant’s lawyer’s preferred choice was rotating triers with the unsworn prospective jurors out of the courtroom during selection.  This is not a method of selection available as of right. The appellant’s lawyer has to demonstrate why exclusion of unsworn prospective jurors is necessary to preserve impartiality when rotating triers are to be used. But the appellant offered nothing in support of such an order. The trial judge cannot now be faulted for failing to direct a method of trial of the challenge that he was never invited to consider.

The Governing Principles

It is well established that after the evidence is submitted to the jury, a trial judge is no longer a mere referee, an ear and eye witness who must sit passively while counsel present the case as they see fit.  Not only should a judge intervene in the adversarial process, but also that sometimes intervention becomes essential to ensure that justice is done in substance and appearance.

Further, a trial judge may intervene to focus the evidence on issues material to a determination of the case and to clarify evidence as it has been given and is being given. The trial judge should also avoid the admission of evidence that is irrelevant and curtail the needless introduction of repetitive evidence. The trial judge should also dispense with proof of the obvious or uncontroversial and ensure the way that a witness answers or fails to respond to questions that does not unduly hamper the progress of the trial. And finally,  to prevent undue protraction of trial proceedings.

Trial judges should be cautious in the exercise of these various incidents of what might be compendiously described as the trial management power. For the most part, trial judges should confine themselves to their own responsibilities, leaving counsel and the jury to their respective functions.

As an aside with respect to the above paragraph in this article, I want to tell you of a case that took place many years ago. I was charged with obstructing a police officer (disobeying his order). At my trial, the judge suggested to the prosecutor than since Propane is an explosive substance, the police have a right to order citizens from the scene of a nearby fire if the Propane tank is too close to the fire. Propane is not an explosive substance since it is created to burn and not to explode. The Attorney General of Ontario confirmed that to me. Further, it was not the judge’s role to propose to the prosecutor of other possible evidence to be used against me.  A judge’s role is to give instructions with respect to procedures only. I was later pardoned and my record of conviction was subsequently ordered to be destroyed.  

The appellant fastened onto two further aspects of the instruction on standard of proof as reflecting error .He argued that the trial judge made a number of errors in his final instructions to the jury  which was detrimental to Murray. For example, The trial judge failed to include a direction that to find the appellant guilty, the jurors must feel “sure” of his guilt. The second complaint by Murray’s lawyer was that the judge’s instruction impeached the jury’s right to have a reasonable doubt of Murray’s guilt since the jury must be able to articulate in a logical and common sense manner the objective basis for that doubt. Such an instruction is wrong in law because it distorts and dilutes the burden of proof. Only a conviction requires the articulation of a reason for reaching the conclusion that Murray was guilty.  

The Court couldn’t find any fault about the appellant’s complaint re the above.

The second ground of appeal advanced by Murray’s lawyer asserted that the number and nature of interventions by the trial judge during the evidence of the defence-friendly Crown witness BB resulted in an unfair trial, thus constituted a miscarriage of justice that warrants a new trial.

The Court of Appeal agreed and ordered a new trial for Murray. I am however convinced that Murray will probably be found guilty again. After all, he was the driver of the cab when BB shot the victim and he circled the cab twice so that BB could get a good shot at the victim. 

Monday, 22 May 2017

Getting ripped off by a garage door company                                    
There are some reputable garage door companies in Ontario and in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).  There are also many disreputable garage door companies in the GTA. Disreputable companies claim to represent themselves as reputable companies, and then they defraud the consumers with wildly exaggerated costs or add additional costs they didn’t tell theie customers about in their initial calls for the work they did or didn’t do professionally.

One of the most exasperating experiences we have in life is being ripped off by dishonest people who have no scruples. They tell us one thing and do something else. They neglect to tell us what we need to know before we do business with them. In this article, I am going to tell you about one of these sleazy garage door companies. 

On May 4, 2017, I phoned a garage door company in the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario called Prestige Garage Doors. It is located at 1510 Birchmount Road in Scarborough, a district of Toronto.  Its phone number is 416-208-6111. I told the man who answered the phone that I lost my hand-held remote that opens my garage door from outside the garage. He told me that he would send someone to my home and then he asked me for my address. I gave it to him and I asked him as to how soon someone from his firm would come to my home. He told me that his employee would be at my home in about twenty minutes. I was pleased with that answer because I thought that I might have to wait a day or so. The man also told me that there would be a $95.00 service charge.  I also knew that I would also have to pay for the control remote and the taxes.

His man arrived at my home shortly thereafter and he gave me a new hand-held remote—one that will open any garage door that I have installed. I was pleased with the new hand-held remote. He gave me the bill and I paid for it with my bank card.  After he left, I looked at the bill. 

He had charged me $75.00 as an emergency fee. When I first spoke to the man on the phone, he told me that there would only be a service call fee of $95.00. He said nothing about an emergency fee of $75.00. If my garage door was closed and I couldn’t get it open, that would be an emergency. What I needed was only a control remote. That wasn’t an emergency. He cheated me out of $75.00 plus 13% tax.                                    

He charged me $302.94. If he hadn’t improperly charged me with the emergency fee and had’t overcharged me with the HST tax, my final bill would have been only ($193 plus $33.54. which comes to $226.54. This means that he cheated me by as much as $76.40.

I should have looked at the bill before I paid for the service and the remote. That was my stupidity.

I called the firm and spoke to a man and complained that I should not have been charged the $75.00. He told me that he would have to see the bill first and that the man who came to my home wasn’t back yet. He then said that he would call me that night at seven. He didn’t call me that night as he promised. The next day I asked for the manager and was told that he would be in between 3 and 5. I called at 4:30 and no one answered the phone.

I called on May 6th and was told that the owner of the firm was out of town and would be there for two weeks. He also told me that I could phone him on May 8th. I thought that odd considering that he is supposed to be out of town for two weeks. He never called me back.

I subsequently mailed a letter to 1519 Birchmount Road in Scarborough. It was returned by the post office stating that I need the Unit number.  That unit number wasn’t on the bill. The postal code on the bill is MIP 266 but the postal code for the phone number is MIC 4K2. This means the shop is at a different location than the firm’s phone is.

On the 20th of May 2017, I tried to get that firm’s mailing address so I could mail a letter to the manager of the firm. I called 416-208-611 and left a message. A man called back and I asked him for the address of the firm I had been dealing with. Are you ready for this? He said that the address of Prestige Garage Doors is not available to the public.  He said that he would call me back. He didn’t call me back. Am I surprised? No I am not. This means that if they ruin your door while trying to fix it, you can’t sue them because you don’t have their address. Any company that refuses to disclose their address is a sleaze company that you should never deal with.

There are lessons to be learned about these kinds of rip offs by sleazy companies.  They are;

First:  Go to your computer and search for reviews about the firm you choose to use.

I made the mistake of not doing this.  I later learned that there were eight complaints filed against Prestige Garage Doors with the Better Business Bureau and another complaint stating that Prestige didn’t respond to the customer’s complaint. There might have been many more complaints that simply weren’t forwarded onto the Better Business Bureau. Here is one I found in the internet. 

Do not call or use this company, They charged $ 4,000 for a door opener repair, $ 800 for a $ 220 motor ; $ 650 for $ 200 spring ; $ 225 / hr labour, don't use them, get a written quote from some one else there are companies who will come a give you a free quote but not these guys, They didn't even connect to the power, but used my extension cord and dangled it to a wall outlet. Don't use them.

Second: When you call, ask if there is going to be an emergency fee.

Third: Ask the employee that arrives at your home is there is going to be an emergency fee.

Fourth: Have the person from the firm give you a work order as to what he is going to do and what the costs for the work is going to be before he begins.

Fifth: Look at the bill before you pay it. If the words “emergency fee” is written on it and you didn’t tell them that your call was an emergency,   or the fee exceeds the estimate, only pay the rest of the bill and ignore the amount that exceeds the estimate.  

Sixth: To those  six and a half million people living in the Greater Toronto Area which includes Toronto, Mississauga, Bramalea, Bramption, Caledon, Oakville, Vaughn, Markham, Whitby and Oshawa—choose another garage door firm if you don’t want to end up as another customer who have a complaint against Prestige Garage Door and received no satisfaction in return. The firm didn’t even respond to my own complaint. This recommendation also applies anywhere else that Prestige Garage Doors is located.

Seventh: Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and/or the Chamber of Commerce (C of C) in your area before using the services of a garage door company.  

I did a review of firms whose businesses are garage doors in the internet and this is what I discovered about garage door companies (other than Prestige Garage Doors) that are located in southern Ontario.

Only seven of one hundred garage door companies have been classed as being legitimate companies. They listed their real addresses and the names of the owners.  Seventy-two of them were listed as being fraudulent and it is not known if another twenty-two 0f them are fraudulent or not.  

Many of their address listed are phony. Here is how some of those fraudulent companies listed their addresses; the town’s city hall, a parking lot of a funeral home, an Esso Gas Station, three  vacant lands, a bank, a private house, a Kwik Kopy store, a Sweet Tooth Candy Store, no such address, a fire station, a Bank of Montreal, a Tim Hortons, a Books Café, a ladies clothing store, a public parking lot, an Anglican Church, a Mr. Sub, a beer store, and a furniture store. The vast remainder of these sleazy garage door companies have no known addresses listed.

What I have written in this article is based on how I perceive the facts of my complaint and my research and as such, it is my honest belief as to what I have said about the Prestige Garage Doors firm, its owner and its employee that I dealt with. Further, what I have written in this article is my honest opinion.  Further still, I have published this article because I believe that it is a matter of public’s interest so that my readers are forewarned about companies that rip off its customers and how to protect themselves from this happening to them like it has happened to me and many other victims.   

Friday, 19 May 2017

A mob hit by fellow gangsters

There is a real advantage of being the boss of a gang. You get a larger amount of the money that comes to the gang and you don’t have to take shit from anyone in the gang. There is a disadvantage that over shadows the advantage. That is being assassinated by another gangster. We can’t say this is uncommon.                                                   

Albert “The Mad Hatter” Anastasia was the brutal and violent head of the Mangano/Gambino family mob. He was murdered while sitting in his barber’s chair with a hot cloth over his face while being shaved by his barber. His bodyguard had conveniently taken a walk when two masked gunmen burst into the shop and opened fire on Anastasia. They continued to shoot him until he fell to the floor dead. Then they shot him point blank in the back of his head. It is believed that brothers Larry and Joe Gallo carried out the murder under a contract from Don Vito Genoves, another mob boss.

Paul “Big Paul” Castellano had become jealous of John Gotti’s drug dealing and threatened to kill anyone involved with narcotics. He had also acquired enemies when he did not attend the funeral of Aneillo “Neil” Dellacroce, one of his underbosses, He then named Tommy Bilotti, a body guard, as a new underboss despite Bilotti’s lack of skills for the job. Castellano and Bilottie were shot dead outside a steak house by order of John Gotti. The men had been lured there with the promise of having a talk with Gotti to “iron things out.” Gotti later was sentenced to prison for life and subsequently died in prison.

In 1980, Angelo “The Gentle Don” Bruno was killed by a single gunshot blast in the back of his head while sitting in his car. He had developed many enemies by cashing in on the heroin market in Philadelphia while other families were barred from narcotic distribution. Dollar bills were found stuffed in his mouth and up Bruno’s anus to symbolize his greed. The Philadelphia Family went into decline after Bruno’s death. Antonio Caponigro (aka Tony Bananas) who was another mob boss who ordered the killing but was himself killed just a few weeks later in retaliation.

An 86-year-old Mafia patriarch, Nicolo Rizzuto, was gunned down in his Montreal home by a sniper, the latest blow to a once-formidable criminal organization. Rizzuto was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead on November 11, 2010.

Salvatore Montagna, 40, the acting boss of the Bonanno mob family with strong southern Ontario ties, was killed by gunfire in the Montreal suburb of Ile Vaudry, near Repentigny on November 24, 2011.

These are just some of the many mob bosses who were murdered. I am now going to tell you about another Canadian mob boss who was murdered. The trial of his murderers was just recently concluded. The murdered mob boss I am referring to was John Raposo.  

This 35-year-old mobster was a low-level gang leader, once the main man in the McCormick Boys, a small Toronto west-end crew that bought drugs from Italian organized crime to push on the streets. The McCormick Boys, who took their name from a park on the edge of Toronto’s Portuguese neighbourhood had about ten core members and perhaps twice as many associates. They were not major players, but their drug connections with the Italian mob discouraged anyone from messing with them.

Raposo had sporadic run-ins with police, starting in 1997 when he was in his early 20s. Last year, he was accused of beating up a man over a gin rummy game at a Mississauga gambling den.

But by all appearances, Raposo had done well for himself. He owned two pieces of property, including a place on Willard Avenue, in upscale Swansea, where he built a large new house for his family and was expecting a second child with his common-law wife.

His hopes and dreams all ended on Tuesday, June 19th 2012 when he was shot dead in broad daylight at the Sicilian Sidewalk Café, a landmark ice-cream parlour on College Street east of Ossington Avenue, in the western part of Toronto which is often referred to as Little Italy.  The shooting occurred at the height of a Euro 2012 match between Italy and Ireland. Another man was wounded in the shooting.

Sixteen days earlier, two gang members (not members of Reposo’s gang) were fatally shot along with five bystanders wounded when a gunman opened fire at the crowded Eaton Centre food court on Yonge Street. Christopher Husbands was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the case. His jury found him guilty of two counts of second-degree murder for the deaths of Ahmed Hassan and Nixon Nirmalendran. He was also found guilty of five counts of aggravated assault, one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and one count of reckless discharge of a firearm. Superior Court Justice Eugene Ewaschuk sentenced Husbands to serve two consecutive 15-year periods of parole ineligibility under a recent law that applies in cases with multiple murders.

His appeal to the judge was a constitutional challenge from Husbands’ lawyers, who argued that consecutive periods of parole ineligibility would amount to cruel and unusual punishment. Hey dummies. That appeal even if it went to a higher court would receive the same sympathy as a mosquito when it’s sucking your blood from your arms.

And now back to John Reposo’s murder.

Although he only had a few members in his McCormick Boys gang, they wielded considerable authority on the street because their drugs came directly from the Italian Mafia. They had graduated from street dealers to middlemen who moved their product from the Mafia to other street-level dealers, including Hispanic and black gangs, in western part of Toronto, He was not known to be related to Luis "Chopper" Raposo, who was one of the Bandidos killed in the April 2006 Shedden Massacre, the two likely knew each other through shared connections with the Loners motorcycle gang.

Raposo was killed by Dean Wiwichar and Alkali. Wiwichar was a bad dude who had made his way through the Canadian corrections system. Suspended from high school for fighting, he had been arrested several times for robberies and assaults, often employing masks and weapons.

When he reached 18 in 2005, he was given a 10-year sentence. At his March 2009 parole hearing, the decision-makers heard that while in prison he had been caught with weapons 10 times and had been involved in five assaults. They paroled him anyway. Stupid decision. A month later, he was in a car wreck in Maple Ridge, B.C., that broke his leg. The driver was a fellow parolee and the car was leased by a fugitive. He wasn’t to associate with a felon while on parole. Since the police found a loaded handgun and marijuana in the car, Wiwichar was sent back behind bars. Inside, he continued his aggressive ways, even assaulting a guard with the walker he was issued to help with his broken leg.

After his next release, Wiwichar was arrested again in May 2012 and charged with 37 counts of firearms offenses. His co-accused was a woman named Juanita Hyslop and an alleged gangster named Philip Ley. Ley is alleged to be a member of the Red Scorpions (Bacon's gang) and is also alleged to have been the target of a failed assassination attempt orchestrated by the Dhak gang, which is also alleged to have been behind Bacon's murder.

Alkhalil (that agreed to supply the hitman with the gun he had requested’ Alkhalil has had a similarly checkered past. With two of his brothers already dead due to their involvement in gangs, Alkhalil appeared undeterred.

In November 2012, Alkhalil was one of several people arrested in Montreal in an operation of moving 75 kg of cocaine per week. During his arrest, police confiscated 400 firearms, explosives, $255,000 in cash, marijuana, cocaine and other drugs. Among those arrested was the man police allege was the ring leader, Larry Amero. Not only was Nero well known as a high-ranking member of the Hells Angels, but he was also the man critically injured in the assault that killed Bacon.

According to the police investigation, Dean Wiwichar and Rabih Alkhalil were working under the orders of Nicola "Nick" Nero (arrested at his Niagara Falls home) and Martino Caputo (arrested in Germany). The two latter men were suspected of having close ties to the Mafia and the Hells Angels.

The Crown (prosecutor) later told the jury that Nicola Nero, Martino Caputo and Rabih Alkhalil were the masterminds of the plan, while a fourth accused, Dean Wiwchar, was the contract killer tasked with carrying out the job.

Prior to the trial, the police in the Niagara Region obtained warrants to wiretap Nero's phones and record conversations in his home and car in early 2012 as part of an investigation into his alleged drug activities. This led them to Nero’s personal identification number and password which they later used to crack the encryption on his messages.

In an encrypted text message from Nero’s cell phone, that was intercepted by the police, Wiwchar had stated that he was in the hitman business, was currently under contract and that his fee was $100,000. Never ever advertise a message like that via the internet or the HiFi. The police have the means of getting at the messages and even have the ability to break an encrypted message.  

Wiwchar was first contacted by Alkhalil, who called Wiwchar his "best hitter" in another intercepted message. That tied Alkhalil to the murder.

Once back in Vancouver, Wiwchar's messages indicated he was aware he had been under police surveillance in Toronto, but planned to take a circuitous route to evade law enforcement when he returned to carry out the hit. He should have used a circuitous method of communicating.

In some of the messages, Nero called Raposo a "rat" who deserved to die for some harm he had caused to Nero and Caputo, another thug.

There were discussions on the need to get a photo of Raposo and a list of addresses where he could be found, as well as the gun to be used by the hitman. In the messages, Alkhalil agreed to supply the hitman with the gun he had requested.

At their trials, their lawyers raised really idiotic defences. “The three men who sent each other text messages advocating revenge against a rival were simply engaging in macho nonsense and not plotting a murder.” said one of the lawyers to the jury. Another defence lawyer told the jury that all the messages show is people play-acting like they’re in a Scorsese movie or something in order to appear tough. Well that play actually existed.

One of the lawyers said in his closing submission to the jurors, “While the group may have wanted retribution against John Raposo, they sought to get it by stealing a shipment of drugs worth millions of dollars from him, not by having him killed. “It was a drug conversation, not a killing conversation.”

If those jurors believed those fairy tales, it would be easy to sell them land in a swamp. With the jury previously being apprised of the text messages whch was concrete evidence against these criminals, why would any of the jurors believe the criminal’s lawyers blather? Texting can be hazardous at times, especially when you are planning a murder.

Prior to the murder, Wiwchar had taken two short trips to Toronto in May and early June, during which he used a rented car to drive near Raposo's home and the Sicilian Sidewalk Café.

He took a Greyhound bus to Calgary under a fake name on June 12, 2012, then flew to Montreal and travelled to Toronto from there, arriving the following day. This time there was no police surveillance.

On the day of the shooting, Wiwchar was wearing a shoulder-length wig, sunglasses, a dust mask, an orange construction vest with a large reflective X on it and a hardhat. Raposo was seated on the outdoor patio next to the sidewalk when Wiwchar shot him in the head. Wiwchar then simply walked away. 

Later, a hardhat, construction vest and skin-coloured face masks were among the items found in Wiwchar's Vancouver home in the days that followed, while officers who seized his luggage found a strand of hair that tests later established that it came from a wig that Wiwchar was wearing. An experienced hit-man would have disposed of all that evidence soon after he committed the murder. It was later used against Wiwchar as evidence in court. It doesn’t take intelligence to shoot someone. It does however take intelligence to escape and never be caught. He obviously didn’t have the intelligence to achieve a successful escape.   

After the hit was done, Wiwchar was arrested on June 21st. More than $60,000 in cash was also found in bundles in his pockets and his luggage in his parents' home in Stouffville, Ontario (north of Toronto) where Wiwchar stayed three days after the shooting, Earlier searches of Wiwchar's other home in Surrey, B.C., had uncovered a cache of firearms as well as wigs, liquid latex skin, theatrical makeup, fake moustaches and beards and other items.

Nero and Caputo were arrested in early 2013 in Germany and Alkhalil was arrested in Greece the following year. All four of these criminals were charged with first degree murder.

The Crown (prosecutor) alleged that Nicola Nero, Martino Caputo and Rabih Alkhalil were the masterminds of the plan, while the fourth accused, Dean Wiwchar, was the contract killer tasked with carrying out the job.

They were all convicted by their jury. The judge sentenced each of them to prison for twenty-five years. They can apply for parole after they have served their twenty-five year sentences. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be released since the sentence is actually a life sentence.