B.C. crime stories
No surprise that Peter Gill was partying at the Pelican Bay disco on Granville Island.
Gill had every reason to celebrate. One week earlier, he had walked out of court a free man, beating two first-degree murder charges laid after the Dosanjh brothers were gunned down in a running Vancouver drug turf war.
It was an unexpected win for Gill and five “associates.” A headline summed up the reaction to the jury verdict - “Dosanjh slayings acquittals stun police.”
And no surprise that Gill chose Pelican Bay, or “Bay of Pigs” as it was unkindly known, a rough-and-ready hangout for Vancouver’s high-profile gangsters in 1995.
But his date for the evening, she was a very big surprise.
An off-duty RCMP officer in the bar recognized the lavishly made-up, dramatically dressed blonde hugging and dancing with Gill.
It was Gillian Guess, aka “Elvira” or the “Dragon Lady.” And Guess had spent the last eight months on the jury that decided Gill and company weren’t guilty. Jurors and defendants aren’t supposed to cuddle in clubs.
Police were already suspicious about Guess. An anonymous call to CrimeStoppers had alleged she was sleeping with Gill while she was on the jury.
Jurors in Canadian trials are generally quiet participants, anonymous and sworn to eternal secrecy.
Everyone noticed Guess. She sat in the front row of the jury box, in tight miniskirts or designer jeans and, some days, see-through blouses. High heels, bright red lipstick, big eyelashes and blonde hair often piled up to the sky. She had a striking resemblance to Patsy, the pouty lipped, heavily made-upcharacter from the Brit sitcom Absolutely Fabulous.
“Dramatic,” Spencer Charest called her. Charest was a court reporter, who hunched over a tiny keyboard, recording every word of the testimony. It took fierce concentration. But he noticed Guess.
Dramatic was a good word for the trial, too. . .