Alleged bikers want charges thrown out

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Lawyers for three reported Vikings members argue for dismissal under Jordan ruling

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

Lawyers for a trio of alleged Vikings Motorcycle Club members charged with drug trafficking and criminal organization offences are arguing for a dismissal of the charges, given the length of time it has taken to bring the men to trial.

Vincent Leonard Sr., James Curran and Wayne Johnson were arrested Sept. 28, 2016 as part of a joint RCMP/RNC investigation called Operation Bombard.

However, much of the disclosure in the case against them — which amounts to hundreds of thousands of pages of documents in total — was not given to their lawyers until October 2018.

The men had been scheduled to go to trial Jan. 15 of this year. Proceedings were postponed after their lawyers successfully argued they didn't have enough time to review the 60,000 pages they received in the fall in order to build a defence.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in its 2016 R. vs. Jordan decision that criminal cases in a province's superior court must be heard within 30 months (18 months for provincial court). That timeline gives the court until this coming Thursday to deal with Leonard Sr.'s, Curran's and Johnson's charges.

Defence lawyers Mike King, Mark Gruchy and John Hartery made an application before Justice David Hurley to have the case dismissed under the Jordan ruling. They wrapped up their evidence and closing submissions in the hearing Monday, while Crown prosecutors Trevor Bridger and Elaine Reid will continue their submissions Wednesday.

A Jordan application can only be successful if it is proven the delays were not the fault of the defence.

Leonard Sr., Curran and Johnson were three of 10 men arrested and charged after police executed search warrants at a handful of locations in St. John's and Cupids and seized cocaine, oxycodone pills, temazepam pills and a powder that contained fentanyl, as well as eight motorcycles, two pickup trucks, cash, weapons, photos and Vikings vests.

Many of the men have already had their day in court, including two of Leonard Sr.'s sons. Shane Leonard was acquitted last month of trafficking Percocet, on the grounds that he was not aware the prescription painkiller contained oxycodone. Vince Leonard Jr. was sentenced to 18 months in prison in September 2017 for trafficking cocaine.

Prosecutors have filed an appeal of Shane Leonard's acquittal.

Thomas Snow pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring to traffic oxycodone and was sentenced last November to nine months in jail.

Joseph McIntyre was sentenced in January 2018 to two years less a day behind bars for drug trafficking.

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Tara Bradbury
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