Prosecutors will proceed by direct indictment — a move typically reserved for the most serious and complicated cases — against five men charged in connection with the alleged gang-related murder of Troy Gold.
Direct indictment is a special legal power available to prosecutors that can only be approved by the attorney general or his deputy. It sends a prosecution straight to trial in B.C. Supreme Court, taking away the accused’s right to a preliminary inquiry.
Gold, 35, was reported missing in early October of 2018. His remains were found weeks later in the Lac du Bois area north of Kamloops.
Last fall, police arrested five men in connection with the slaying.
Nathan Townsend, Jayden Eustache, Darian Rohel, John Daviss and Sean Scurt are each charged with second-degree murder.
Five men charged with murder
All of the accused have been in custody since their arrest.
During a brief hearing in Kamloops provincial court on Thursday, prosecutor Sarah Firestone said the Crown is proceeding by way of direct indictment.
Preliminary inquiries are hearings at which prosecutors typically present a bare-bones version of their case, after which a judge decides whether there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.
Direct indictments are sometimes approved in cases that are extremely complex or reliant on extensive wire tap evidence.
In court on Thursday, Firestone called the disclosure in the case “enormous,” estimating its size at 30,000 pages. She said the Crown hopes to have it in the hands of defence lawyers by the week of Feb. 17.
Gold had been involved in the city’s drug trade, as had each of the five accused.
His murder was the first in a series of deadly gang-related incidents in Kamloops over a violent five-month stretch that saw four people killed and a number of others injured.
The accused are expected to return to court on Feb. 24.