Untried crimes can’t be used to block gangland killing parole application, court says

GST fraud allegations not acceptable in murder parole case: judge

B.C. prosecutors can’t use evidence of untried crimes to block a parole application by a man co-convicted in the death of a Lower Mainland gangster, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled.

Sameer Mapara was convicted in 2001 of first-degree murder in connection with the 1998 shooting death of Vikash Chand outside Mapara's Burnaby car dealership.

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Mapara was believed to have business ties to drug-dealing heavyweights and to be an up-and-coming B.C. crime figure.

Chand was an associate of Bindy Johal who was gunned down in a busy Vancouver nightclub in 1998.

In a May 8 judgement released June 7, Justice Laura Gerow explains Mapara was sentenced to life imprisonment with no eligibility of parole for 25 years.

He had applied to have the years before eligibility reduced and a jury was put together to hear the application.

At that application, prosecutors had intended to present evidence of untried charges against Mapara arising from a scheme to fraudulently obtain goods and services tax (GST) payment.

Mapara, among others, was charged on a 13-count indictment for GST offences alleged to have occurred between May 1995 and November 1998.

The Crown stayed those charges in November 2006 following Mapara’s conviction for first-degree murder and the dismissal of his subsequent appeal.

“Mr. Mapara takes the position that the evidence of the charges against him are unproven and have no relationship to the murder of Mr. Chand,” Gerow wrote.

Mapara said evidence of the charges is unproven and have no relationship to the Chand murder.

Gerow agreed and rejected the government plea.

“The GST fraud is unrelated to the murder,” Gerow said. “None of the co-accused in the GST fraud were alleged to be involved in the murder. I agree that the evidence regarding the charges has no probative value to the matters in issue except as it relates to Mr. Mapara’s character.”

jhainsworth@glaciermedia.ca

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