A former West Kelowna man who was stopped by a spike belt after stealing a number of vehicles back in 2011 has lost his appeal.
Raymond Frederick Gilliland argued that his Charter rights had been violated and submitted that the trial judge erred by dismissing his application for a stay of proceedings, the Court of Appeal summarized in a decision posted online on Friday.
However, the Court of Appeal disagreed with Gilliland, saying that stays of proceedings are “rarely” granted and the judge’s verdict was “reasonable.”
The charges that give rise to the appeal date back to the early morning hours of May 30, 2011, when a utility trailer was stolen from a Rutland Road home and three ride-on lawn tractors were taken from a business’s locked compound.
Police soon spotted the stolen items, but when they tried to pull over the truck—also stolen—hauling the purloined items, it accelerated away, the Court of Appeal said in its decision.
The vehicle was eventually stopped using a spike belt in Vernon.
Gilliland represented himself at his appeal and argued, as he had at trial, that his Charter rights had been violated because he was not allowed to make submissions at his bail hearing (where he was represented by a lawyer) and because he was not taken to a scheduled neuropsychological appointment when he was detained in custody.
He also argued that because he was taken from Vernon to Kelowna, the provincial trial court in Kelowna had no jurisdiction to try him.
The trial judge did not find that those allegations were borne out in the evidence, but did agree that another allegation—the late disclosure of a police officer’s notes—was founded.
However, because the information had already been repeated in a report to Crown counsel, which was initially given to Gilliland shortly after his arrest, the judge found it did not amount to a case where a stay of proceedings was warranted. The B.C. Court of Appeal agreed with the judge’s findings.
Gilliland also argued he was under duress when he committed the offences, saying he was on a cocaine binge and owed drug dealers approximately $3,000.
“He said that they forced him to participate in the offences under threat to himself and to his family,” wrote Court of Appeal Justice Elizabeth Bennett.
However, Bennett noted the defence of duress under law is not available for those who associate with the criminal element and are threatened to commit criminal offences.
“The trial judge committed no error in finding that there was no air of reality to this defence,” wrote Bennett.
“In my opinion, Mr. Gilliland has not established any errors by the trial judge that would allow this Court to interfere with the verdict,” Bennett added.
Gilliland was convicted in April 2012 of six out of the eight charges laid against him.
He was sentenced to just over three years in jail