News Item: Crown wants $105,000 for breaching bail
(Category: Biker News)
Posted by
Thursday 29 June 2006 - 13:25:09

Prosecutors who last week dropped murder charges against a former biker gang leader, now want $105,000 in bail money put up for his release forfeited to the Crown.

John Croitoru, known by his former pro wrestling tag as Johnny K-9, was charged in connection with the shotgun killings of an Ancaster couple. The Crown withdrew the first-degree murder charges last week against Croitoru and his co-accused, Andre Gravelle, both 42.

Yesterday, the former president of the Hamilton chapter of Satan's Choice pleaded guilty to extortion and breaching the terms of his release from jail while facing the murder charges.

Croitoru and Gravelle were early suspects in the double homicide of criminal lawyer, Lynn Gilbank, and her husband, Fred Gilbank, a senior software consultant with IBM. The couple's bodies were discovered in their home on Nov. 16, 1998.

The Crown attorney withdrew the murder charges after a review of the prosecution's case by senior lawyers with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General who determined there was no reasonable prospect of a conviction against either accused.

Gravelle, a reputed member of a Hamilton crime family who has been convicted numerous times for bringing large quant-ities of marijuana and pot oil into the community, walked out of the John Sopinka Courthouse a free man.

But Croitoru remained in jail on extortion and breaches of bail.

Ontario Court Justice Richard Jennis sentenced him yesterday to time served plus one day in jail.

Croitoru's lawyer Tony Bryant said that his client has served almost seven months in custody since his bail was revoked, but would not be getting out any time soon unless an outstanding drug charge in Parry Sound is also resolved.

Assistant Crown attorney Kim Rogers said now that Croitoru had pleaded guilty to the breaches, the Crown will seek to have the $105,000 bail pledged by family members forfeited.

A hearing on the matter would be scheduled at a later date.

The extortion charge arose Dec. 1, 2005, after an off-duty Hamilton police officer in civilian clothes dropped off his vehicle at the Petra Auto Trade Centre on Upper James Street.

The owner, Mamoon Smadi, offered to give the customer a lift and as they were leaving the officer recognized Croitoru standing in the parking lot.

He asked Smadi if he knew Croitoru.

The owner told him, "Johnny, he's my guy."

Smadi explained how Croitoru had helped him collect a debt from a man who owed $1,300 for work on a car.

"Smadi smiled and said that Croitoru had spoken to the guy and that the guy was now paying him," Rogers said.

Croitoru was under house arrest at the time and forbidden by his conditions of bail to be outside the home unless with one of the people who put up his bail money or one of his children.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Croitoru accompanied Smadi to a restaurant where the debtor worked and Smadi waited outside while he went in to persuade the man.

Croitoru introduced himself as John K-9 and told the rest-aurant employee Smadi had sent him to collect the money owed.

When the man said that Smadi could take him to court if he wanted the money back, K-9 responded: "Do you know who I am and who I know?"

Croitoru told the frightened man that the money was now owed to him.

On Dec. 5, 2005, now in custody for breaching his bail, Croitoru appeared before a justice of the peace and was ordered to have no contact with Mamoon Smadi.

On Dec. 26, Croitoru's wife paid Smadi a visit, saying she had come to pick up money for John. This constituted a breach of the bail condition. When Smadi said he did not owe Croitoru any money, the woman became angry and reminded Smadi that her husband was in jail because of him.

"You're going to see, you're going to pay for that," she told Smadi.

This news item is from White Trash Networks
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