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Kelowna truck thief challenging conviction, four-year sentence

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March 08, 2013 - 3:53 PM

By Julie Whittet

A West Kelowna man who fled police last year in a stolen truck is applying to appeal both his conviction and prison sentence in the B.C. Court of Appeal.

But before he does, Frederick Raymond Gilliland needs a legal aid lawyer and after numerous delays in getting an answer on the free legal service, he applied to the court directly and according to a decision released this week, he was at least partially successful.

On April 12, 2012 Judge Brad Chapman of the Kelowna Provincial Court sentenced Gilliland to over 3 years in prison for multiple offences. On May 30, 2011 police arrested Gilliland at gunpoint after catching him driving a stolen vehicle on Highway 97 in the Kelowna area. The vehicle contained tractor equipment recently reported stolen from a break and enter. Gilliland claimed that he only committed the offences under duress. He said he owed money for a drug debt and only agreed to participate in the crimes fearing for his own safety and that of his family. He was on a cocaine and ecstasy binge leading up to the offences. He said he threatened, beaten and had his glasses broken so he couldn't see  spike belts on the roadway or recognize a marked police vehicle. 

While in prison, Gilliland has himself assembled a folder of evidence to present for his appeal. He is claiming that his trial was unfair, and that both the Crown and police had violated his Charter rights.

The B.C. Court of Appeal does not see a sufficient case to appeal the conviction, but will likely grant counsel for Gilliland to appeal his jail sentence. Gilliland was convicted for multiple charges including possession of stolen property, theft, breaking and entering, dangerous driving while on drugs and driving while disqualified.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at jwhittet@infotelnews.ca or call (250) 718-0428.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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