Vernon gang members lose murder appeal

Peter Manolakos, Sheldon Richard O’Donnell and Leslie Podolski were looking to have 2012 murder and manslaughter convictions overturned

  • Dec. 17, 2015 10:00 a.m.

Three members of a Vernon gang referred to by police as The Greeks have lost another courtroom battle.

Peter Manolakos, Sheldon Richard O’Donnell and Leslie Podolski were looking to have their 2012 murder and manslaughter convictions overturned, based on pre-trial, off-the-record hearings that were held to determine the status of persons alleged to be confidential informants.

Defence counsel had a limited chance to make submissions at some of those hearings, and the trial judge ruled that all but one person whose status was considered was not protected by informant privilege.

Crown counsel argued against the appeal motion, stating the trio did not have standing to appeal from the decision made at the off-the-record hearings.

Justice Willock agreed with Crown. His decision was backed by Justice Lowry and Madam Justice Fenlon.

“A party with no right to notice and no right to attend cannot have a right to appeal decisions arising out of the first stage in-camera hearing,” wrote Willock in his 18-page decision.

“To grant such standing would be to open a door that has been closed to third parties.”

The trio were convicted in November 2012 following the longest jury trial – 18 months – in B.C. history in connection with the murders of three people near Vernon in a nine-month period in 2004 and 2005.

Podolski and O’Donnell were convicted in connection with the death of David Barry Marnuik in August 2004. Podolski was convicted as charged of first degree murder. O’Donnell, charged with first degree murder, was convicted of second degree murder.

Manolakos was charged with and convicted of manslaughter in connection with Marnuik’s death.

O’Donnell and Manolakos were charged and convicted of first degree murder in connection with the May 2005 death of Ronald James Thom.

O’Donnell was charged and convicted of second degree murder in connection with the November 2004 death of Thomas Edward Bryce.