British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Bill Smart sentenced the leader of a criminal gang, Peter Manolakos, to a life sentence without any parole chance for 25 years after being convicted of first-degree murder.
Manolakos was also handed to 15 years for a unintended killing conviction in the beating death of David Marnuik in July 2004. Smart also pronounced 17 years in prison sentence to gang partners Douglas Brownell for two manslaughter convictions in the deaths of Greeks gang opponent Thomas Bryce in November 2004 and Ron Thom in May 2005. Brownell was involved in the drug trafficking, officials said.
Smart started the sentencing hearing by making what he called “general observations” about the gang situation in B.C. “On an almost weekly basis, the public sees and hears the risks posed to a peaceful and just society by gangs involved in the drug trade. Such gangs challenge the rule of law and create fear in law-abiding citizens that they, their children and other family members may be harmed simply because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Smart said.
“The consequences to individuals and the community caused by gangs trafficking illicit drugs are extraordinary. They include violence on public streets, property crime, ruined lives and huge expenditures of public resources. Members of gangs involved in the illicit drug trade in Canada convicted of murder, manslaughter and other violent offenses must be met with harsh sentences. Such sentences are a critical part of how the courts can express society’s denunciation for such violence in an attempt to deter others and keep our communities safe.”
Three other members of Manolakos’ gang had already been given life sentences for their roles in the slayings of Marnuik, Bryce and Thom.
At the time of the first Greeks arrests in May 2006, police said the gangsters were major players in the drug trade in the Okanagan and also had tentacles that reached to Grande Prairie, Edmonton, Vancouver and other cities and also had links to the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang.