Kamloops RCMP held a perimeter around a Dallas neighbourhood on Feb. 14, 2019,, stopping residents from accessing their homes from Dallas Drive. Police were investigating a robbery and kidnapping, with assailants and victims involved in the drug trade in the city. Photograph By DAVE EAGLES

Kamloops RCMP held a perimeter around a Dallas neighbourhood on Feb. 14, 2019,, stopping residents from accessing their homes from Dallas Drive. Police were investigating a robbery and kidnapping, with assailants and victims involved in the drug trade in the city. Photograph By DAVE EAGLES

Guilty verdict in Kamloops kidnapping trial

B.C. Supreme Court Justice found Michael Mathieson guilty on a number of charges

  • Oct. 9, 2020 3:05 p.m.

Kamloops This Week

Incriminating text messages and selfie photos on a phone seized by anti-gang police officers helped convince a judge on Friday (Oct. 9) of the guilt of one of three men arrested following a beating, a pre-planned robbery and a kidnapping last year in the middle of a deadly Kamloops gang war.

However, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Nathan Smith said prosecutors failed to link a gun seized by police to the violent crime spree, meaning the time Michael Mathieson is likely to spend behind bars will be much shorter than it could have been.

Mathieson, 40, stood trial over three weeks in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops on charges of armed robbery, unlawful confinement, kidnapping with a firearm and assault. Smith found him guilty of unlawful confinement, robbery, kidnapping and assault.

Police stumbled upon a kidnapping in progress in the early-morning hours of Feb. 14, 2019, while monitoring a wiretap as part of a separate ongoing investigation.

Court heard the violent spree began hours earlier when a man was beaten inside a suite at the Hospitality Inn in Lower Sahai. Mathieson was one of the assailants. The victim told police he was beaten, burned with a lighter and struck with a Taser-like weapon in the neck and genitals.

Mathieson and another man then went to the Acadian Inn on the east end of downtown and entered a suite, holding a couple against their will. Mathieson then texted an acquaintance, pretending to be someone else, luring him to the suite with the promise of money.

When the target arrived with his girlfriend and a friend, the two men were robbed, strip-searched and hog-tied. The woman was then kidnapped and taken to the target’s home in Dallas, which was ransacked, then to Kelowna.

In Kelowna, Mathieson handed the kidnapped woman over to a driver, to be taken back to Kamloops. She was rescued by police during a high-risk traffic stop in Falkland, after which Mounties found a bag containing a gun and a bottle of vodka with Mathieson’s fingerprint on it.

Mathieson was arrested three days later by gang-enforcement police. His Samsung phone was seized and searched, turning up information linking him to the robbery and kidnapping and identifying himself as “Mike” and “Mathieson.” Selfies on the phone also showed Mathieson’s face, court heard.

The issue at trial was identity. Mathieson’s lawyers, Dustin Gagnon and Joe Killoran, poked holes in the credibility of Crown witnesses, some of whom were people struggling with addiction and with little apparent reason to co-operate with police or prosecutors.

In handing down his decision, Smith noted those credibility problems, but found that, when coupled with the circumstantial evidence turned up on the seized Samsung phone, it was enough to convict.

“If the Crown’s case rested entirely on that circumstantial evidence, it may not be enough for a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” Smith said. “This case is not based entirely on the circumstantial evidence.”

Had Smith found Mathieson guilty of the firearms-related charges, he could have been facing a mandatory five extra years behind bars.

He is still likely to receive a stiff sentence, though. Justin Daniels, charged alongside Mathieson, pleaded guilty in August and was sentenced on Friday, just before Smith’s decision, to 7.5 years in a federal penitentiary.

Daniels, 40, pleaded guilty to counts of armed robbery, kidnapping with a firearm and robbery — the latter count relating to the Hospitality Inn incident. After being given credit for time served, his sentence was shortened to 5.5 years.

In addition to the prison time, Daniels was handed a lifetime firearms ban and ordered to submit a sample of his DNA to a national criminal database.

A third accused, Robert Rennie, has been on the lam since he was granted bail in April. A Canada-wide warrant has been issued for his arrest.

The incidents took place in the middle of a bloody Kamloops gang war that left three people dead and others injured.

Mathieson, who moved from Kamloops to the Lower Mainland after he was charged, will return to court on Nov. 4 in Vancouver to set a date for sentencing. He is not in custody.

READ MORE: Kamloops Mounties happened upon alleged gang-related robbery, kidnapping

READ MORE: Trial underway for Kamloops man charged with kidnapping

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Court

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

Follow public health recommendations, says Interior Health as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Revelstoke. (Image courtesy CDC)
Revelstoke positive COVID cases grows to 29

Interior Health announced a cluster in the community on Nov. 26

Figure skaters in the old skating rink in the 1940s. 
(Revelstoke Museum and Archives photo 4034)
Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for Nov. 26

A look a local history as recorded by the newspaper

Cst. Dane Storey was recognized as a member of Alexa’s Team, a provincial recognition paying tribute to police officers who make an extraordinary contribution to reducing the number of impaired drivers on the roads. (Submitted/Revelstoke RCMP)
Alexa’s Team awarded to Revelstoke RCMP officer

Cst. Dane Storey removed 59 impaired drivers from B.C. roads in 2019

Revelstoke Mountain Resort opens for the season tomorrow, Nov. 27, 2020. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Know before you go: Revelstoke Mountain Resort opens tomorrow

Masks are mandatory, lineup opens at 6:30 a.m.

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Summerland residents have been receiving a telephone scam with the number showing as the telephone number of the local RCMP detachment. (Black Press Media files)
Summerland RCMP telephone number spoofed in scam calls

Number used in scam attempts from tax agency

(Village of Lumby photo)
Mysterious, loud ‘boom’ shakes North Okanagan residents

Village staff, Earthquakes Canada aren’t sure what caused the explosion-like sound

Clarence Fulton students collect cash and non-perishable food donations for families in need in their community Friday, Nov. 27. (Jennifer Smith  - Morning Star)
North Okanagan students collect food for families in need

Annual event to support nine school families this year

Take a break from the slopes to discover the rich culture and diversity of Vernon. Michelle Beaudry photo, courtesy Tourism Vernon.
Tourism Vernon could see 40% cut to budget due to COVID-19

New approach to help residents and visitors activate their adventures

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Penticton law courts
Osoyoos child sex offender in court

Shawn Titus, 37, is charged with possession of child porn

Leighton Allen Labute faces charges of animal abuse and allegedly has a string of social media accounts depicting disturbing content.
Accused Kelowna hamster killer has trial date set for 2021

Leighton Labute’s three day trial is scheduled for Aug. 16, 2021

Most Read