A former Canadian soldier and Sylvan Lake resident accused of killing a B.C. gangster in Southeast Asia can be extradited an Alberta judge has ruled.
Edmonton Court of King’s Bench Justice Denise Kiss committed Matthew Leandre Ovide Dupre for extradition last Friday, following an extradition hearing in September.
The Kingdom of Thailand is seeking the extradition of Dupre, 36, for allegedly shooting to death Jimi Singh Sandhu on Feb. 4, 2022 in Phuket, Thailand. Extradition was also sought for another Canadian man, Gene Karl Lahrkamp, who was implicated in the same killing but died in a plane crash earlier this year.
Dupre was a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces and veteran of Afghanistan. He later joined a private security company that operated in global hot spots, such as Iraq.
He was arrested in Sylvan Lake on Feb. 20 and has been in custody at Red Deer Remand Centre, where he watched the judge give her ruling through a closed-circuit video link.
In her ruling, Kiss said she was satisfied that Dupre is the man Thailand is seeking and there is enough evidence that prosecution would be justified if his alleged conduct had happened in Canada.
It will now be up to the federal justice minister to decide whether to extradite Dupre, who has the right to appeal.
Kiss said in her ruling the extradition hearing is not a trial. “It has been described as a modest screening device designed to ensure the identity of the person sought and to protect that person from being surrendered for conduct that we would not recognize as criminal.”
The judge is restricted to engaging in a “limited weighing” of the evidence to exclude evidence that is “manifestly unreliable.”
Dupre’s defence lawyer had argued during the hearing that should Dupre be convicted of murder in Thailand the only sentence available is death by lethal injection.
“This is simply not a factor I am permitted to consider at this stage of the extradition proceedings,” she writes.
The judge used a summary of the evidence in a Record of the Case when making her decision. That included sworn statements from six people, including two Thai police majors, who provided a summary of the collection and analysis of video evidence and the findings of a search of the villa rented by the victim Sandhu.
Other statements came from a tourist witness, hotel receptionist, rental car employee and the driver of a vehicle who was in the area on the night of the murder and able to provide dashcam video footage from her car. Other CCTV evidence was gathered from a municipal office and a café in Rawai.
Physical evidence included ammunition casings, bullets, pistols, and DNA and fingerprint evidence. Immigration, hotel and car rental records were also included.
CCTV images “captured images of Mr. Lahrkamp and Mr. Dupre prior to the incident as they visited the crime scene for observation and placement of the suspected GPS device, while they were walking and hiding nearby, while the shooting took place, and also while they were fleeing,” says the judge’s decision.
“This provided the investigators with a ‘complete picture’ of the incident so that they could connect the pieces of evidence together.
“I find that this evidence, viewed holistically, supports the reasonable inference that Mr. Dupre was involved in the alleged conduct and that the Applicant has established a prima facie (at first glance) case against Mr. Dupre. That is all that is required at this stage of the extradition process.”
The defence conceded there is enough evidence to establish that Dupre is the person sought by the Thailand authorities.
However, Dupre’s lawyer said the Record of the Case evidence “is insufficient to establish that the person before this Court is the person who engaged in the alleged conduct that underlies this request for extradition.”