Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Kelowna Hells Angels won't call evidence in their defence

Two Hells Angels and three of their associates won't call witnesses or evidence in their defence in a cocaine conspiracy case in B.C. Supreme Court. Lawyers for Hells Angels David Giles and Brian Oldham and associates James Howard, Shawn Womacks and Michael Read all told Justice Carol Ross that they will not be calling evidence. Federal prosecutor Chris Greenwood closed the Crown’s case against the five men Monday, May 16. Closing arguments will begin on June 20, 2016.
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Kevin Van Kalkaren
A Hells Angels associate who put up $4 million to smuggle half a tonne of cocaine into Canada should be sentenced to 18 years in jail, a federal prosecutor said. Chris Greenwood said Kevin Van Kalkeren played a leading role in the conspiracy to import the “massive” shipment of cocaine, along with full-patch Kelowna Hells Angel David Giles and associate James Howard.

Van Kalkeren pleaded guilty in January, three-and-a-half years after he was caught in a reverse sting by Mounties posing as South American drug traffickers.

David Giles
Van Kalkeren’s co-accused in the case — Giles, Howard, Hells Angel Brian Oldham and associates Michael Read and Shawn Womacks — remain on trial before B.C. Supreme Court Justice Carol Ross. The trial was adjourned until May 16 so the judge could preside over Van Kalkeren’s sentencing hearing.

The Okanagan man boasted that he had been involved in the drug trade for 18 years, producing 300 to 500 pounds of marijuana a month and then trading pot in Los Angeles for cocaine. “The evidence revealed a conspiracy in which Mr. Van Kalkeren agreed with others, notably Mr. Giles and Mr. Howard, to purchase a purported shipment of 500 kilograms of cocaine and future shipments on a regular basis,” Greenwood said. The conspirators could have made between $7 and $15 million on the cocaine if the deal had been real.
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Both Crown and defence accept that an 18-year sentence for Kevin Van Kalkaren is appropriate. But Judge Ross will have to decide if she agrees.

What’s in dispute between the lawyers is now much pre-trial credit Van Kalkeren should get. The standard is now 1.5 days for every day in custody prior to conviction. But Van Kalkeren’s lawyer Ian Donaldson says 2-1 wouldn’t be out of line for the 47-year-old given he’s spent almost 45 months in isolation at North Fraser Pre-trial Centre.
Donaldson said that it was Van Kalkeren’s own bravado to uncover cops that got him denied bail in the first place.

He told the officers posing as drug traffickers that he had money hidden abroad and passports so that he could flee if something went wrong with the 500-kilogram cocaine deal. Kevin Van Kalkeren learns his fate May 27.