B.C. court issues arrest warrant after co-accused of Sukh Dhak fails to appear for sentencing

Published: November 27, 2013
BC gangster

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Neville James Rankin, a co-accused of slain gangster Sukh Dhak, after he failed to show up in court for sentencing Wednesday. Wayne Leidenfrost, PNG

KEITH FRASER
VANCOUVER DESI

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a co-accused of slain gangster Sukh Dhak after he failed to show up in court for sentencing Wednesday.

Neville James Rankin was scheduled to be sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver after being convicted in March of conspiracy to produce ecstasy pills and production of ecstasy.

Allan Hoehm, Rankin’s lawyer, told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Gail Dickson that he spoke to his client Tuesday night and was told Rankin was in Victoria meeting with an appellate lawyer.

Hoehm said Rankin told him that after the meeting with the lawyer he was expected to meet with immigration officials, but missed that meeting.

Court adjourned for about 45 minutes Wednesday and Rankin was paged in the courthouse a number of times — to no avail.

Crown counsel Maggie Loda told the judge that she had contacted Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials, who said they had no idea where the Australian man was.

She then asked for the warrant to be issued.

“I’m satisfied in the circumstances that it’s appropriate for me to issue a warrant for the arrest of Mr. Rankin and I make that order,” said the judge.

Rankin, who is an Australian citizen, had earlier signed an order for his removal from Canada after he serves out whatever sentence he receives.

Several CBSA officials were in court during Rankin’s sentencing hearing earlier this month but none were in court Wednesday.

Rankin was convicted along with Dhak’s cousin, Baljit (Bobby) Pabla, for their role in a major ecstasy ring that made tens of thousands of pills.

Court heart that Dhak was the operating mind of the conspiracy and that Rankin and Pabla worked on the pill press, which was seized by police from an East Vancouver home in March 2008.

The Crown had sought a four-year jail term for Rankin, while his defence lawyer argued for a conditional sentence.

In July, Pabla was sentenced to two years in jail for his part in the conspiracy.

Dhak was also charged in the conspiracy but in November last year, midway through the trial of the three men, he was gunned down along with his bodyguard outside a Burnaby hotel.

Dhak’s father was in court Wednesday to claim some jewelry that was seized from Dhak at the time of his arrest.

The judge agreed to amend a forfeiture order to allow the father to reclaim the jewelry.

kfraser@theprovince.com

twitter.com/keithrfraser

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