Counsel for a criminal defence lawyer who pleaded guilty to participating in the activities of the Greeks gang is seeking a conditional sentence for his client.
David Crossin said that William Mastop, 46, was a "model of social and professional dedication," but over time had inexplicably become involved in the Vernon gang's activities.
Mastop's crime was the result of a culmination of his social and professional relationships with the Greeks, particularly gang leader Peter Manolakos, he said.
"Over the course of time, the lines between the social interaction and professional became blurred and skewed."
Mastop and Manolakos, who has been convicted of murder and manslaughter, initially socialized with one another, with Mastop providing him with "basic" legal advice.
By 2004 and 2005, the dynamic had clearly changed and Manolakos had become the directing mind in a drug trafficking ring, "but the antennae of Mr. Mastop didn't keep up," Crossin told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Mark McEwan in Vancouver.
"It just didn't register. It should have, but it didn't."
Mastop got in over his head with the gang and lost his way, said Crossin.
"He viewed them as friends. They viewed him, it is clear from the disclosure, with disregard. He was used."
Court has heard that Mastop provided Manolakos with court documents which, according to the Crown, began a chain of events that led to two murders. Mastop says he had no knowledge of or involvement in either of the murders.
Crossin said he "absolutely" rejected the notion that his client thought that providing the documents would lead to the two murders.
Crossin accepted that some of the numerous police intercepts were evidence that Mastop was helping the gang, but argued others were merely legal advice.
The Crown has called for a jail term of 2 1/2 to three years in jail, but Crossin argued the principles of sentencing can be met by the imposition of a conditional sentence. He said outside court that such a sentence should run for less than two years.
In November, a jury convicted Manolakos and four other gang members or associates in connection with three drug-related slayings. The verdict came after 18 months, B.C.'s longest jury trial ever.
- The Province