Crown concludes evidence at Emyvale home invasion trial

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Jason Yeo accused of planning robbery of drug dealer carried out by four others

Scales of justice

The Crown has concluded the presentation of evidence in the trial of a Charlottetown man charged in connection with a robbery/home invasion in Emyvale in May of 2012.

Jason Norman Yeo is accused of playing an integral role in planning a robbery which took place at the home of convicted drug dealer Dean Fairhurst.

CLICK HERE FOR TRIAL COVERAGE FROM EARLIER WEDNESDAY

CLICK HERE FOR TUESDAY'S COVERAGE OF THE TRIAL

During that robbery, two armed men made off with a large quantity of cocaine and prescription pills.

The crown closed its case Wednesday after hearing testimony from Const. Erwin Vanwesterneng of the RCMP’s major crime unit.

He testified that police were first informed of the robbery by Fairhurst roughly a week after it happened. Fairhurst said $5,000 was taken but did not disclose that drugs were taken.

Some months later, a confidential informant told the RCMP that Chase Roper and Derry Bird may have done the robbery.

Based on that information, Vanwesterneng did background checks on both men.

In January, police learned from Fairhurst that it was drugs, not money, the thieves stole. Fairhurst also told police he heard Roper, Bird and their girlfriends were involved.

Vanwesterneng said he interviewed Roper first and during their first interview, he admitted nothing. When he inquired about Bird, he learned he was serving time in a federal correctional facility at Spring Hill, N.S.

Vanwesterneng said a security officer he spoke to there later called him back to say they had intercepted a letter from Bird to Jason Yeo. That letter made specific reference to a robbery.

Vanwesterneng read the letter into the court record, including a portion in which Bird said Fairhurst apparently knew who did it. Based on information in the letter, he next interviewed Micah MacDougall.

Based on what he learned from the interviews he’d done and the information he gathered, he believed the grounds existed to arrest Roper and Bird.

A third party, Jennifer Wakelin, was also arrested. Not long after that, police arrested a second woman, Kaylee McLean. Yeo was the last person to be charged.

He noted Roper pleaded guilty and received four years.

Wakelin and McLean pleaded guilty to lesser charges and received four months. Bird and Yeo chose to plead not guilty.

Bird has been tried but the judge in that case has not yet rendered a decision. That decision comes down next month.

CLICK HERE FOR A TIMELINE OF EVENTS SURROUNDING THIS CASE

Crown Prosecutor Cyndria Wedge asked Vanwesterneng if the police had focused on Yeo in their investigation of the robbery, a question she indicated was prompted by certain questions put to earlier witnesses by the defence.

“We went where the evidence took us and focused on where the evidence took us,” Vanwesterneng said.

During cross-examination, defence counsel Mitchell MacLeod questioned whether the police had focused their investigation on other people before they turned to the people they eventually charged. He questioned whether two people from West Prince had been looked at for the robbery.

MacLeod asked Vanwesterneng if he had suspicions that drugs, not money, had been taken from Fairhurst’s residence before Fairhurst told them that was the case.

He said he had suspected that to be the case.

MacLeod questioned whether the letter from Bird to Yeo intercepted at Spring Hill had ever been forwarded to Yeo.

The officer said it was not.

The court also heard evidence Wednesday from the victim, Dean Fairhurst, who recounted how the robbery unfolded, starting with his being alerted around 3 a.m. by his motion sensors to the presence of someone or something outside his residence.

Before he could check things out, he said two men entered his residence with guns and demanded to know where his drugs were.

He said the men masked their faces so he could not see who they were and he didn’t recognize their voices. He said the smaller of the two men held a gun on him while his partner searched for drugs.

He told them where the pills were and the men found the cocaine on their own.

During the incident, the smaller man kicked him several times in the ribs and head.

Fairhurst’s hands and feet were bound with duct tape before the men left with the drugs they got.

Fairhurst said he paid $12,000 to $15,000 for the drugs but they were worth double on the street.

During cross-examination, Fairhurst told the court he did not suspect Yeo was involved in the robbery and that in fact Yeo offered to help find out who did this to him.

The defence will announce today whether they plan to call any witnesses.

Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Spring Hill, West Prince

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