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Sentence in Burnaby kidnapping case 'academic' after life sentence for murder of Toronto rappers: lawyer

Wednesday August 24, 2022

A 25-year-old man’s sentence in a dramatic Burnaby kidnapping case will be “academic,” according to his lawyer, since his client has already been sentenced to life in prison for the shooting deaths of two emerging Toronto hip hop artists.

Abdulkadir Handule and two co-accused – Abdullah Abdullahi and Obinna Njoku – were originally charged with kidnapping in relation to events at a Metrotown apartment building in 2019.

Tactical officers breached the door of an 11th-floor apartment at 4960 Sanders St. at about 10:20 p.m. on July 4, 2019, to rescue Arnold Hue, a man they believed had been kidnapped at an underground parkade at the Metropolis mall two days earlier, according to facts presented in Vancouver supreme court.

When police broke in, the three accused fled through the balcony door.

Two snipers watching the rescue from the rooftop of an apartment building next door saw Abdullahi fall from the apartment’s balcony into a rhododendron bush below and spotted Handule scaling down the outside of the building.

Njoku managed to jump from the 11th floor balcony to one on the 10th floor.

All three were eventually arrested at the scene and charged with kidnapping.

After a lengthy trial, however, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Janet Winteringham ruled prosecutors had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Hue had not gone with the accused willingly, possibly as part of a planned drug deal.

She acquitted Njoku and found Abdullahi and Handule guilty of the lesser charge of unlawful confinement.

At a sentencing hearing for Handule Tuesday, however, his lawyer, Paul McMurray noted Handule has already been convicted on two counts of second-degree murder, aggravated assault and discharging a firearm in Ontario, and his sentence for the Burnaby offence will be “kind of academic.”

An Ontario jury found Handule guilty in February of a June 2018 shooting in Toronto’s entertainment district that injured a bystander and killed Jahvante Smart, 21, known by his rap name Smoke Dawg, and Ernest Modekwe, 28, a brand manager for a hip-hop collective called Prime.

On July 31, an Ontario superior court judge sentenced Handule to life in prison with no chance of parole for 20 years for the shooting, according to the court registry.

McMurray said whatever sentence is imposed in the Burnaby case will have to be served concurrently with the life sentence.  

Handule was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for the Toronto shooting when he was arrested for the alleged Burnaby kidnapping and turned over to Toronto police, according to Burnaby RCMP.

Handule’s sentencing was adjourned Tuesday so the court could order an “impact of race and culture assessment.”

McMurray noted Handule is the son of immigrants from Somalia, a country torn apart by civil war, and he grew up in a poor part of Toronto “plagued with gun violence and gang violence.”

In December 2019, Handule’s 22-year-old brother was shot to death on the streets of Calgary.

Handule's next court date is scheduled for Aug. 31. Abdullahi's sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 23.


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