Agreement between prosecution and defence fails to resolve case

A proposed courtroom deal for a man alleged to have been involved in a marijuana grow op near an elementary school broke down on Thursday.

A proposed courtroom deal for a man alleged to have been involved in a marijuana grow op near an elementary school broke down on Thursday.

Hoan Van Phun, 55, of Vancouver was scheduled to begin a two-day trial in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.

An apparent resolution between federal Crown prosecutor Dave Inglis and defence lawyer Will Willms couldn’t be accepted by the accused, Justice Jim Foster heard.

The trial couldn’t proceed because the witnesses had been called off earlier.

Phun is charged with producing marijuana for the purpose of trafficking, possession of a narcotic for the purpose of trafficking and theft of electricity.

Phun was ordered to return to court on Jan. 11 with either Willms or a new lawyer and be ready to enter a plea.

Foster said if a new trial date is needed, it won’t occur until much later in the new year.

Phun was originally set to have a trial in mid-September but that had to be postponed because a Cantonese-speaking interpreter hadn’t been ordered by the court.

He was one of two men charged in August 2007 after a Deer Park residence was raided by RCMP. Police seized 533 marijuana plants in the house directly across the street from Holy Family Elementary School.

A police drug expert testified at the sentencing for Dean Tin Lap Voong, 55, of Red Deer, that if three crops had been harvested they could have been worth about $1.2 million.

Voong was sentenced to two years and two months in jail in August 2008 after pleading guilty to producing marijuana, possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and theft of electricity.

Willms told court on Thursday that Willms believed he had a resolution worked out but his client balked at some part of the offer.

“I believed I had certain instructions but I was wrong,” Willms said.

“When instructions change, I’m not comfortable with it,” Willms added.

Willms said he will stay on the record for now. However, he said his inclination is to withdraw his services.

“I would anticipate it would be a new lawyer,” Willms said in response to a question from Foster.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com

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