KELOWNA – Whether or not Hell’s Angel Joseph Bruce Skreptak knew he was in a vehicle full of guns when he was arrested Nov. 25, 2010 was the focus of the opening day of his Supreme Court trial Wednesday morning.
Skreptak, who was arrested shortly after 10 that night along with three other men, is charged with five counts of possession of a restricted firearm and seven other gun-related charges.
As the only witness in the trial, Skreptak claims he did not know there were guns in the rented Jeep Grand Cherokee when he, Cory Montemurro, Carl Ennis and Dennis Miner were stopped by police while driving back from viewing a legal marijuana grow op he says he was considering buying. The four men were pulled over for speeding near Salmon Arm.
Skreptak admits he was carrying a small amount of marijuana on him at the time but says he did not know there were any guns in the vehicle. He has since been given a licence for medical marijuana because of a serious motorcycle accident in 2001 that left him with a broken neck, foot and other injuries.
Crown lawyer Sandra Dworkin wrapped the day saying Skreptak and Ennis knew there were unregistered guns in the vehicle and that they were trying to distract the two police officers long enough for Miner to throw them to the side of the road.
Skreptak said that was not the case.
Dworkin then asked him if they were planning on making another stop near Salmon Arm on the way back to Kelowna.
"You were actually heading somewhere else rather than going straight home, is that correct?" she asked.
"No, that's incorrect," Skreptak answered.
"I'm suggesting that's why you had all those weapons in your car that night, is that correct?"
"It was someone that, in fact, you or someone else in your car, had an issue with. Do you agree or disagree?"
"I have no idea. I disagree with that."
"That's actually why you had four men in your car to go see this grow op, instead of just you and Mr. Ennis."
"Your intent was to actually intimidate someone."
"I disagree," he said.
"At worst it was to cause someone harm."
Skreptak then admitted he was wearing a Hell's Angels shirt that night, which he tore apart when police tried to take it.
A cell jammer, latex gloves, knives, a sawed off shotgun, three pistols with ammunition, body armour, a baseball bat, balaclavas and other items were also found in the Jeep.
The trial is scheduled to last three days.
Skreptak, 47, was sentenced to 23 months in prison in 2013 for a 2010 aggravated assault following an unprovoked beating of the father of a 16 year-old he claims stole from him.
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— This story was updated at 6:14 p.m. September 17 to include information from the afternoon session.