Alleged gangster acquitted of five weapons charges
Judge cites lack of evidence linking Chan to gun, buck knife in truck
Ruling his fugitive brother may have been the true culprit, a Calgary judge on Thursday acquitted alleged gang leader Nick Chan of five weapons charges.
Justice Scott Brooker said while he didn’t believe everything Chan said in his testimony, the accused’s claim of innocence was enough to raise a doubt as to whether he knew there was a gun under his seat when he was stopped by police.
“I am left with a reasonable doubt as to the accused’s guilt,” Brooker said. “Mr. Chan, I find you not guilty.” Crown prosecutor Bob Sigurdson had argued the logical inference was Chan was aware the handgun and a buck knife hidden under the seat of his borrowed truck were there.
Sigurdson said Chan regularly used the vehicle, having been stopped two other times by police while at the wheel, which was owned by a limited company.
The prosecutor also argued Chan’s gang-related lifestyle — which included his brother, Tim, being shot and the accused being present when another associate was shot at — gave him motive to be armed.
But Brooker agreed with defence lawyer Michael Bates that Chan’s conduct at a March 3, 2010, traffic stop suggested he wasn’t aware of the gun’s presence.
Chan was unco-operative when pulled over by police, refusing to exit the truck and having to be pulled from the vehicle.
“If the accused knew there was a gun in the vehicle one would assume he’d co-operate, get out of the vehicle and get away from it,” Brooker said.
The judge also said there was a lack of evidence linking Chan to the gun and other items in the truck.
“There’s no forensics linking the accused to the gun, the buck knife or any of the clothing found in the vehicle,” he said.
Brooker said Chan’s “gang lifestyle” could have been a motive for the gun being there, but there were other explanations for its presence.
“That is a possible inference to draw, but that is not the only possible inference,” he said.
“It could’ve been Tim Chan … or somebody else that placed the gun under the seat.”
Chan testified he periodically got permission from his brother to drive the truck and when he angrily complained about being charged, Tim Chan apologized.
Tim Chan is wanted for murder in connection with the triple slaying at Bolsa restaurant on Jan. 1, 2009, but has been a fugitive from justice since the charge was laid in July 2013.
Nick Chan was acquitted of firstdegree murder in March 2016 in connection with the Bolsa massacre.
He’s scheduled to face trial next April in connection with another murder, the shooting death of nongang member Kevin Anaya on Aug. 9, 2008.