Prosecutors have received approval to send five men accused in a gangland 2018 slaying directly to trial, but four of them are no longer charged with murder.
A direct indictment was approved late last week in the case of the five men accused of killing Troy Gold, a player in the Kamloops drug scene who was reported missing in October 2018.
The 35-year-old’s remains were found in the Lac du Bois area weeks later.
Jayden Eustache, Nathan Townsend, Darien Rohel, John Daviss and Sean Scurt had been charged with second-degree murder in connection with Gold’s death. All but Eustache had their charges reduced to manslaughter with the direct indictment — a legal maneuver that sends accused directly to trial in B.C. Supreme Court, bypassing their right to a preliminary inquiry.
Last week, lawyers were working to arrange a closed-door meeting with a judge to iron out potential issues ahead of a preliminary inquiry that could have taken more than three months to complete, court heard.
Eustache, Townsend, Rohel, Daviss and Scurt have been in custody since their arrests in October 2019. In January, Crown prosecutor Sarah Firestone said she was intending to proceed by way of direct indictment, but the delay in approval from Victoria — such prosecutions require a sign-off from B.C.’s attorney general’s office — could have resulted in a significant delay.
Kamloops RCMP Supt. Syd Lecky has previously told KTW the investigation into Gold’s death was the most complex ever undertaken by city police. Details of the alleged slaying, presented in December during a bail hearing, are bound by a court-ordered ban on publication.
Direct indictment is typically reserved for the most serious and complex prosecutions.
Each of the accused are expected to make their first appearance in B.C. Supreme Court on Aug. 4.