It has been almost nine years since Marc Rozen (picture above) was shot to death in his West End apartment after advertising an expensive engagement ring for sale at a bargain price.
And finally the Vancouver trial is beginning for the United Nations gangster accused of killing him.
Since Rozen’s death, Michael Bruce Newman has been convicted in Ontario on drug and gun charges. He was charged with first-degree murder in April 2009, while serving his Ontario sentence. And while at Kent, he was beaten up in August 2011.
The 43-year-old is now back in court, looking very thin and pale.
The Crown’s opening in the judge-alone case goes ahead this afternoon.
Here’s my story on the voir dire ruling delivered by Justice William Ehrcke this morning:
A statement given by a United Nations gang member to Ontario police in 2007 cannot be admitted at his Vancouver murder trial because his Charter rights were violated, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled.
Justice William Ehrcke said that a detective with York Regional Police lied to gangster Michael Newman about being a suspect in the 2004 slaying of Vancouver resident Marc Rozen.
Ehrcke noted that Newman told the detective in the April 2, 2007 interview that he would want a lawyer present if he was being charged or investigated for murder, but that the officer claimed Newman was only facing drug and weapons charges at the time.
Ehrcke said the detective made a “deliberate and considered decision to mislead Mr. Newman.”
“This was a serious breach of Mr. Newman’s rights,” Ehrcke said, adding that the statements admission at trial “would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.”
But Ehrcke admitted into evidence another statement Newman gave police on March 30, 2007, claiming he had drugs, two firearms and a silencer in an apartment he was renting in Vaughan, Ontario.
Ehrcke’s rulings on the statements came after a three-week “voir dire” or trial within a trial.
Crown Geordie Proulx is expected to give his opening address in the first-degree murder case this afternoon.
Newman, 43, is charged with fatally shooting Rozen at his West End apartment in January 2004.
Rozen, who gave up his law practice to work with troubled youth, had advertised an $18,000 engagement ring for sale for $8,900.
Police believe robbery was the motive for the murder.
Newman was arrested in March 2007 in a mall parking lot after York Regional Police witnessed three men in two SUVs exchanging three heavy suitcases for a silver briefcase.
The suitcases turned out to contain ecstasy and cocaine, while the briefcase carried $220,000.
Newman gave police a false name and tried to escape, before being arrested on drug charges.
When York Regional Police learned his real identity, they saw the entry in the CPIC computer about him being a suspect in the Rozen homicide.
In the April 2, 2007 statement, Newman “mentioned the Independent Soliders and the Bacon brothers” and told police he was in Ontario because “there are contracts out on all of us,” Ehrcke said.
And he admitted to carrying a “45” most of the time he lived in B.C.
Newman was finally charged in the Rozen murder in April 2009 while serving a sentence for the drugs and guns he possessed in Ontario.
At the time of the charge, Vancouver police said they had linked Newman to DNA found at Rozen’s murder scene.
Newman, looking thing and pale, wore a dark suit and white shirt in court. Rozen’s parents sat in the first row behind him in the high-security courtroom.
Newman’s trial is continuing next door to the high-profile case involving six men linked to the UN gang who are charged with conspiring to murder the Bacon brothers.