Gun and gambling trial under
Lee in Supreme Court to answer three charges

by Derek Neary
Northern News Services

NNSL (Feb 18/98) - Wing Lee admits he ran regular poker games at his Gold Range apartment, but denies anything illegal went on there.

Nine months after he was arrested in an RCMP raid, Lee finally appeared in NWT Supreme Court Tuesday to face charges of operating a gaming house, unlawfully carrying a firearm and improper storage of a firearm and ammunition.

One of the first witnesses on the stand was gaming expert and former peace officer Darrell Wakelam, who served as an undercover agent for the RCMP. He testified he saw Lee "raking" the table several times each night, taking a blue $5 chip each time.

It is the practice of taking a share of the winnings that constitutes the crime of running a gaming house.

To counter that evidence, Wing's defence lawyer, James Brydon, questioned whether the money was used to purchase decks of cards, food and drink for the players. Wakelam said he didn't know, but it was possible.

Wakelam also acknowledged that he never witnessed any cheating, whether through the use of marked cards or improper dealing.

On the gun charges, Const. Merle Carpenter, testified that when the RCMP raided Lee's room May 29, Lee was wearing a loaded .22-calibre handgun and three magazines. Although the gun was registered and Lee had a transport permit for it, he was not authorized to have the gun in his possession on the premises, according to Crown prosecutor Mark Scrivens.

Dozens of decks of cards, stacks of blue and white poker chips, and a sign indicating the maximum bet was $300 were also seized.

Cpl. Mac Eaton, also involved in the investigation, corroborated much of Carpenter's testimony and said he, too, made routine stops at Lee's poker room. He also said that the operation was no secret.

"Everyone knew about it," Eaton said.

Staff Sgt. Dave Grundy is scheduled to take the stand today in what is expected to be the last day of the trial.