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Vernon lawyer enters surprise guilty plea

A Vernon lawyer has admitted to participating in the activities of a criminal organization.

William Mastop entered a guilty plea in B.C. Supreme Court Thursday. In this case, it was participating in the activities of a North Okanagan gang referred to by police as The Greeks.

Three members of that gang have been sentenced to life in prison in connection with three drug-related killings in the Vernon area in 2004 and 2005.

Two other members have also been found guilty in connection with the killings and will be sentenced next month.

Mastop, 46, had been slated to be tried before a judge and jury starting Jan. 14.

“I had some discussions with his lawyer (about entering a guilty plea) in the past month, but I didn’t know it was a sure thing until he said the word,” said Crown lawyer David Jardine.

Mastop admitted that he participated in the activities of The Greeks.

He was arrested in January 2010, in Lake Country. Mastop has been out on bail which carries a number of conditions including that he not practice law.

Jardine said the bail conditions continue to apply.

A sentencing date will be fixed on Jan. 18. Jardine expects the sentence to be delivered in February or March.

He called Thursday’s admission a “one-of-a-kind event.”

“From my knowledge, it was the first time a lawyer was charged and the first time a lawyer plead guilty to participating in the activities of a criminal organization,” said Jardine.

 

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