May 11, 2016 - 6:30 PM
KELOWNA - An appeal by an alleged associate of the Hells Angels who was found guilty of being in a 'rolling arsenal' near Salmon Arm in 2010 was dismissed in a Vancouver court this week.
Cory Joseph Montemurro’s lawyer, Kenneth Westlake, filed the appeal Jan. 20, 2015 alleging that the trial judge chosen to replace Justice Geoff Barrow who suffered from an undisclosed illness during the proceedings, had presided over a 2013 trial of the co-accused Skreptak.
The appeal says that Barrow’s knowledge of Skreptak’s role in the beating death of a Kelowna man would influence him to impose a harsher sentence on both men.
Montemurro was the driver of a rented Jeep police pulled over outside Tappen Nov. 25, 2010. A search of the vehicle revealed what Justice David Frankel called a “rolling arsenal” including several loaded handguns, ammunition, knives, body armour, masks, a cell phone jamming device and Hells Angels clothing.
Also in the vehicle was Skreptak, Carl Ennis and Dennis Miner. All four were arrested and Skreptak and Montemurro were sentenced in February 2015 to five years in prison.
A panel of judges ruled this week that 'none of Montemurro’s arguments have merit' and denied the appeal.
“Mr. Montemurro was the person who rented the Jeep and was driving it when police stopped the vehicle,” Justice Frankel wrote in his decision. “The Jeep was essentially a mobile arsenal. At the time the Jeep was stopped it contained not only firearms and ammunition, but also knives, body armour, masks, etc. The loaded 9 mm CZ pistol and one of the knives were indisputably in Mr. Montemurro’s possession and he had the ability to exercise some measure of control over everything in the Jeep. That Mr. Montemurro would have been unaware of the three additional firearms and other items in the vehicle defies credulity.”
He further states the replacement of a judge is not, on its own, a cause for a mistrial.
“No valid explanation was provided for why the formal request for information with respect to the trial judge’s medical condition was not made until five months after the factum was filed, which was only a little more than a month before the hearing date for the appeal,” Frankel says. “In my view, the justice of this case does not require giving Mr. Montemurro what amounts to a post-eleventh hour opportunity to advance further grounds of appeal.”
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