[ 28] S. and B. did testify for the Crown but only in exchange
for immunity from prosecution for numerous serious offences,
many arising from a police raid on the Malvern Crew known as
[ 29] As a result of Project Impact, S. was charged with a
lengthy list of offences, including attempted murder, conspiracy
to commit an indictable offence, drug dealing, various firearms
offences and participating in a criminal organization. He was
also facing prosecution for a separate attempted murder charge.
He pleaded guilty to the criminal organization charge and
was sentenced to time served. All the other charges against him
[ 30] In May 2004, B. was out on bail for several offences resulting from a police chase, including dangerous driving and
drug and weapon offences. He then was arrested in the Project
Impact raid and charged with additional offences, including possession of drugs and weapons and participating in a criminal
organization. His bail was revoked. Anxious to get out of jail, he
agreed to testify against Abbey in exchange for his freedom.
Like S., he pleaded guilty to the criminal organization charge.
All other charges against him were withdrawn. So too were the
deportation proceedings he was facing. It is hardly surprising
that B. agreed in cross-examination that his arrangement with
the Crown was “a dream come true”.
[ 31] The trial judge strongly cautioned the jury — a “Vetrovec”
caution — about the danger of relying on the evidence of S., B. or
W. without independent confirmation by other evidence. The
trial judge emphasized to the jury that each of the three gang
members had no compunction about lying or falsely implicating
another to further his own interest or gain an advantage for
( ii) The evidence about the meaning of a teardrop tattoo
[ 32] The Crown’s case therefore rested significantly on the
evidence concerning the meaning of a teardrop tattoo. S. and B.
gave evidence about their understanding of what a teardrop tattoo meant to the wearer. But the source of their evidence was
anecdotal — television, movies and “stuff like that”. The
trial judge told the jury their evidence was unreliable, and had
little force without Totten’s evidence.
[ 33] By elimination then, Totten’s evidence played a prominent
role in the Crown’s case. I will review his evidence in detail when
I discuss the first issue on appeal, the cogency of the fresh evidence.
[ 34] In her closing address, the Crown relied heavily on
Totten’s evidence in arguing to the jury that Abbey obtained