Bolsa trial lawyers make formal request for tape of surprise confession
Greg Dunn said he and Tonii Roulston, co-counsel for Real Christian Honorio, told Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Neil Wittmann on Friday of the request to prosecutors Rajbir Dhillon and Susan Karpa.
“We formally requested disclosure and an answer why it wasn’t available previously,” said Dunn. Honorio’s lawyers were only given a transcript of the tape last week. They were alerted to the tape’s existence by a Saskatchewan Crown prosecutor who was reviewing the file of a police interview of a witness known as M.M. following a traffic stop near Unity, Sask., last July 12.
It was received by Dhillon and Karpa and turned over to defence just days before Honorio was to be sentenced for the shooting deaths of FK gang member Sanjeev Mann, 23, FK associate Aaron Bendle, 21, and bystander Keni S’ua.
On the tape, M.M., who was pulled over for drinking and driving and breach of probation, says that he alone went into Bolsa restaurant and shot all three victims “in cold blood.”
He also gave their names and other details of the incident, to which he testified at two trials. During that testimony, he admitted kidnapping Bendle to set up Mann the night before and was a getaway driver after the shootings, but he denied being in the eatery.
M.M. was given immunity from prosecution for his testimony if he was not one of the shooters.
Alberta RCMP spokeswoman Patricia Neely said she is waiting for the Crown to see what information is available and go from there.
“Obviously, the RCMP is aware of the circumstances under which disclosure must be made,” said Neely. “What happened in this case, I can’t comment at this time.”
The case was adjourned until June 22, to decide what applications regarding the case will be made by the lawyers to Justice Glen Poelman, the trial judge.
Honorio was convicted by a jury of two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Mann and Bendle and second-degree murder in the death of S’ua.
He was the third gang member convicted by a jury regarding the bloody incident at the restaurant in Macleod Mall at Macleod Trail and 94th Avenue S.E., which shocked the city as it came during a bitter gang war that claimed at least 25 lives over five years.
Nathan Zuccherato, 25, and Michael Roberto, 28, both members of the FOB street gang, bitter rival of the FKs, were found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder last October and sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years.
The lawyers said new evidence could affect appeals filed by both of those men and a potential appeal by Honorio.
A fourth man, Nicholas Hovanesian, recently pleaded guilty to kidnapping Bendle and being an accessory after the fact to murder. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 29.