Drug convictions upheld

Court of Appeal dismisses appeal of two men who trafficked cocaine in Kelowna in 2006

Cheryl Wierda

Contributor

The Court of Appeal has turned down a bid by two drug traffickers to have their convictions overturned.

Brent Nagy and Marc Zagar were convicted  of trafficking a brick of cocaine in Kelowna back in 2006 following a trial in 2011. Nagy was also convicted of possession for the purpose of trafficking.

In his their appeals, the men argue that the guilty verdicts were not supported by the evidence and Nagy suggested the judge erred in her analysis of the evidence identifying him as a trafficker, a decision posted online Wednesday indicates.

Zagar, meanwhile, argued the judge erred in her treatment of certain phone calls discussed during trial.

The trafficking charge dates back to Aug. 11, 2006, when, near the end of a four-month drug sting dubbed E-Pistachio, the court heard that calls were exchanged between phones registered to Zagar and Nagy shortly before they  met at the marina. There, Nagy pulled something the size of a brick of cocaine from a backpack and Zagar put it in a vehicle driven by another man.

When police stopped the vehicle a short time later, they found a brick of cocaine.

” It was suggested in argument that since there was a short gap in the observation of the …vehicle prior to seizure of the cocaine, this weakened the inference of guilt drawn by the judge,”  Justice John Hall wrote.

However, Hall agreed with the trial judge that it “would belie common sense” to believe the seized cocaine was put in the vehicle at a different time other than what police observed.

He wrote there was a “powerful” body of direct and circumstantial evidence to convict Nagy on the charge. He also dismissed arguments that the judge erred in her treatment of the phone record s and wiretaps and said there was a “convincing” body of evidence to convict Zagar.

Nagy’s possession for the purpose of trafficking charge came after police found two bricks of cocaine in the vehicle, owned by his brother, that he drove from Kelowna to the Lower Mainland later that August.

“The driver was identified as Brent Nagy via the licence found in the cab of the vehicle,” wrote Hall. “The description of the meeting in Surrey between him and the occupant of the Range Rover is supportive of the inference that he obtained the bricks of cocaine at that time. There was evidence of him checking the rear area of the truck during his stop at the gas station near Abbotsford.

“There was, in my respectful opinion, a sound factual basis in the evidence for the judge to conclude that the appellant was knowingly in possession of the prohibited drug,” concluded Hall as he dismissed the appeals.

In addition to Nagy and Zagar, two other men were convicted of drug offences following the 2006 police sting.