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Thursday, 25 February 2010

Vincenzo "Jimmy" DeMaria is a member of the 'Ndrangheta and a family leader," the letter says. It further alleges that DeMaria "

16:54 | ,

bold legal challenge an accused Toronto Mafia boss made to prevent serious police allegations of underworld activities interfering with his release from prison will cost him thousands more now that a judge has ordered him to pay the government's legal bills.But for Vincenzo "Jimmy" DeMaria, a successful businessman, convicted killer and accused leader within the city's Mafia, the fact he was released from prison despite the damning allegations means it was money well spent.
His court appeals, threatened Constitutional challenge, affidavits, video and photo exhibits put together by his high-profile lawyers and a private investigations firm saved DeMaria from "many years of imprisonment," his lawyers say in court documents.
The government countered that much of his efforts unnecessarily ran up legal costs and that DeMaria's court actions were "premature, without merit and unnecessary."
Back in April of 2009, the 55-year-old DeMaria -- who is on lifetime parole for second-degree murder after shooting a man who owed him money in 1981 -- was arrested at his financial services office for alleged breach of his parole conditions.
As he fought for re-release, officers with the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU), a special anti-mob police team, wrote prison officials a letter accusing him of sitting on the Calabrian Mafia's board of control for the Toronto area; being an accomplice to the unsolved murder of a local gangster; engaging in drug trafficking; helping a cousin flee justice; and conspiring to hurt an underworld figure.He denies the allegations. In order to keep that report out of the hands of the National Parole Board before it had decided on his release, he filed suit in the Federal Court of Canada. He filed a similar suit to prevent the Correctional Service Canada from using it to keep him in a higher security prison. He also served notice of a Constitutional challenge against the use of such police allegations by the prison and parole systems, a move that, if successful, would have allowed many inmates to get out of prison earlier.

He eventually dropped all of his actions, however, when his parole hearing went smoothly; he was released after six months in prison.

"I think the board made the right decision," he told the National Post at the time.

The government then sought $6,500 in legal fees from him. After challenging that bill, he was last week ordered by the court to pay the government $3,380.

"Quite frankly, we got our money's worth," said John Hill, a prison law specialist, who was on DeMaria's legal team.He said the lawsuits forced the government to turn over information that was crucial in convincing the parole board.The CFSEU report, dated June 23, 2009, confirms that investigators have evidence that a Mafia "Board of Control" exists in Canada."Mr. DeMaria is a member of the 'Ndrangheta and a family leader," the letter says. It further alleges that DeMaria "was an accomplice to the 2000 murder of Gaetano Panepinto."
The parole board was unmoved."The allegations are certainly serious. However, in our view they are unsubstantiated," said Wes Marsden, chairman of the parole board panel. "The police information is not reliable or persuasive."

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