BRITISH COLUMBIA

William Mastop, B.C. Lawyer Who Helped Gang, Sentence Increased

11/18/2013 01:25 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
Facebook
VANCOUVER - A British Columbia lawyer who became the "on-call intelligence officer" for a violent gang, feeding them information about police activities, has seen his sentence more than doubled by the province's Appeal Court.

William Mastop, a lawyer in Vernon, B.C., was sentenced to one year in jail after admitting to helping a gang known as the Greeks.

Mastop provided the members with police search warrant documents, helped track down drug runners who had been arrested or who had talked to the police, and even took members of the gang to a local gun club for target practice.

The Crown appealed the one-year term, and on Monday the Appeal Court increased the sentence to two-and-a-half years.

"The offence was only possible because Mr. Mastop actively used his status as a lawyer to gain information and material from the Crown and the police," Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein wrote in a unanimous decision.

"He was a lawyer with specialized knowledge, in a unique position in the criminal justice system, who deliberately undermined the administration of justice. His offence strikes deeply at the fabric of the criminal justice system and requires a significant deterrent sentence."

Mastop, 46, provided information to members of the Greeks gang for almost two years beginning in August 2004, the court heard. He was paid a retainer of $200 a week.

The gang trafficked in cocaine and heroin in Vernon, located about 300 kilometres northeast of Vernon in the Okanagan Valley, and five members were eventually convicted of three murders that took place in 2004 and 2005.

"He was their on-call intelligence officer," wrote Stromberg-Stein.

In one instance, Mastop, who met Greeks leader Peter Manolakos in high school, provided the gang with police documents used to obtain search warrants for the home of two of the gang's drug dealers. The redacted documents made it clear the police had spoken with informants, but the informants weren't identified.

Mastop took members of the Greeks to a Vernon gun club as his guests on two occasions, allowing them to use his guns. He also attempted to repair a high-powered rifle for a senior member of the Greeks, court head.

The trial judge concluded that, because there was no evidence directly connecting the information Mastop provided with any particular crime committed by the Greeks, such as an assault or murder, he should receive a lower sentence.

But the Appeal Court said all that mattered was that Mastop knew the information could have been used by the gang.

"Mr. Mastop's actions were done with the intention of benefiting an organization he knew to be both criminal and violent," wrote Stromberg-Stein.

"The foreseeable consequences of his actions were grave. His actions were repeated over a significant period of time."

Mastop, who has no criminal record, had a troubled upbringing, the court heard. His father died of an illness and his mother was an alcoholic. He dropped of out high school, only to later obtain his diploma and pursue a law degree.

His involvement with the Greeks "was not primarily financial," according to the Appeal Court decision, though he was not a member of the gang.

At his sentencing hearing, the court was provided several letters of support, which attested to his generosity and willingness to help others.

"He is described as empathetic and overly trusting," wrote Stromberg-Stein, "and there was a suggestion his connection with the Greeks may have been the result of blurring lines between clients and friends."

Also on HuffPost

Project Li See Seizures