Friend turned witness testifies at Jonathan Bacon shooting trial

A former partner in crime is testifying in a Kelowna courtroom this week

One of the men charged with the 2011 murder of B.C. gangster Jonathan Bacon said he set fire to the vehicle Crown counsel has been trying to link to the daylight shooting, the court heard Thursday.

“Where’s that Ford Explorer you had?” a witness whose name is protected under a publication recalled asking accused killer Michael Jones in the year after the crime.

“He told me it’s gone. He told me he burned it … and I didn’t ask more than that.”

Jones, the witness testified, had recently made some money and had upgraded his vehicle to a new Volkswagen Touareg and wanted to install a secret hatch within.

Crown counsel Dave Ruse has been working this week to link Jones to the vehicle many have testified seeing around the 2011 shooting at the Delta Grand hotel, and that firefighters found hours later burning in a forested area of Lake Country.

Earlier in the week Crown called upon a police officer who said he’d ticketed Jones for not wearing a seat-belt just months before the killing.

Other testimony from the Jones’s former friend in crime highlighted their relationship.

RELATED: BACON TRIAL GETS UNDERWAY

The two lived on the Sunshine Coast and seemingly got a foothold in the criminal underworld in around 2009 by participating in grow-rips together.

The first was in Pender Harbour. The witness, Jones and two others each put on dark hoodies, gloves and masks and broke into a house that had mature pot plants.

“We started pulling it down by the roots,” he said.

That, they learned was wrong, as dirt fell into the buds, so they then started to cut the plants down and bagging them.

When that part of the job was done they went to another friend’s house, snipped the product and left it to dry.

Then it was sold and each of the people involved got a financial cut of the profits.

Crown counsel Ruse asked the witness to explain more about the grow rips that followed, and the court heard that he, Jones and several others kept making profits by robbing other’s illegal grow-ops across B.C.

The details of these rips were mundane when stacked up against the crimes being addressed in the trial at hand, but they seemed to demonstrate an advancement in criminal activity.

Weapons started being introduced to the rips and those involved didn’t shy away from violent confrontation when the need presented itself.

The witness also told the court that he and Jones would also pick up cocaine from a man named Manny and bring it to the Sunshine Coast, where it was sold to dealers.

In opening statements, Crown counsel Dave Ruse said he intended to present evidence that the 2011 shooting was commissioned by Suhk Dhak—the lead member of the gang the Dhak Group, who believed that his brother Gurmit Dhak had been killed by Larry Amero, a Hells Angels, James Riach, an associate of the Independent Soldiers and “their crew” which included Bacon, the leader of the Red Scorpions.

Manny Hairan, who is now dead, was part of the Dhak group and in opening statements Ruse said he was with Khun-Khun, McBride and Jones on the day of the shooting.

Justice Allan Betton must still determine the admissibility of the testimony offered by the witness and defence lawyers were asking questions of the witness aimed testing the veracity of his claims.

Many of the questions highlighted his criminal history and undermined the relationship he claimed to have with Jones.

Jujhar Khun-Khun, Jason McBride and Michael Jones are charged with the first degree murder of Jonathan Bacon, the attempted murder of James Riach, Larry Amero, Leah Hadden-Watts and Lindsay Black and multiple firearm offences. The trial has been ongoing since the end of May.

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