A Vancouver man who was a suspect in a high-profile gang-related shooting, and his co-accused, are claiming their rights were violated when they were arrested and charged in connection with the seizure of 16 firearms.
In June 2012, Dean Michael Wiwchar was charged with the first-degree murder of John Raposo.
Mr. Raposo, 35, was shot five times while watching the Italy-Ireland EuroCup soccer at the Sicilian Sidewalk Cafe in Little Italy.
At the time of the high-profile killing, Mr. Wiwchar, a British Columbian, was under Vancouver police surveillance.
Just a few months before the Little Italy shooting, B.C. police had obtained wiretap authorizations and search warrants for apartments in Surrey and Vancouver linked to Mr. Wiwchar.
They seized 14 firearms and ammunition from the Surrey apartment of one of Mr. Wiwchar’s associates and staged it to look like a break-in so the residents would think a thief took the weapons.
A later police search at Mr. Wiwchar’s apartment on Jervis Street in Vancouver resulted in two more firearms being seized.
Among the weapons were a 12-gauge pump action shotguns, an Uzi submachine-gun, a Romanian automatic rifle, a Norinco semi-automatic rifle, a number of semi-automatic pistols and a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver.
Simon Buck, a lawyer for Mr. Wiwchar, told a B.C. Supreme Court judge this week that he would be making Charter challenges to the wiretap authorization, the search warrant for the apartments and the seizure of the weapons.
Mr. Wiwchar faces multiple firearms counts, including possession of a prohibited, restricted firearm with ammunition, knowingly possessing a firearm without a licence and possession of a firearm contrary to a court order.
His murder trial in Toronto is not expected to get under way until at least September of next year.