Friday, October 24th5.1°C
23888
23726

Hells Angels: Give bikers gear back, judge orders Crown

Canada topics.

Moderators: oneh2obabe, Triple 6, Jo, ferri

Hells Angels: Give bikers gear back, judge orders Crown

Postby oneh2obabe » Dec 3rd, 2012, 6:10 am

Peter Edwards
Staff Reporter

Members of the Toronto Hells Angels can expect gold and diamond jewelry, clothing and a hand-carved grandfather clock this Christmas season from an unlikely source — the Crown Attorney’s office.

All club paraphernalia with the Hells Angels logo that was seized by police from the outlaw bikers during raids in April 2007 must be returned by the Crown, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has ruled.

The decision comes 18 months after a marathon trial in which members of the downtown Toronto Angels’ chapter were found not guilty of being members of a criminal organization — even though they were convicted of other criminal charges, including conspiracy to traffic cocaine and the date rape drug GHB.

Gold rings and belt buckles popping with diamonds were seized by police, along with club pins, vests, calendars, bumper stickers, T-shirts, toques and a hand-carved grandfather clock.

Each of the items bore the trademarked “death head” emblem of the biker club, which can only be sported or owned by full members.

The Crown had argued that all items with the distinctive winged skull emblem were “offence-related property” with the power to intimidate.

In her ruling, Judge Maureen Forestell noted that the bikers don’t need special jewelry or clothing in order to commit crimes.

To the contrary, there’s a club rule that calls upon members to doff club emblems when breaking the law, the judge wrote.

“The evidence … disclosed, and I find, that there was a rule that members were not permitted to wear HAMC (Hells Angels Motorcycle Club) insignia when committing offences,” she wrote.

The judge noted that membership in the biker club was a potent force in criminal circles and that members didn’t have to sport their vests or flash items with the death head logo to be taken seriously.

“No item bearing a symbol of membership was used as an assurance of trustworthiness,” she wrote. “The participants in the transactions knew each other to be members and had no need of such property as a sign of membership.”

She noted that the club bars police officers and former police officers from membership, and also has rules against cheating in drug deals, reporting crimes to police and testifying in court against anyone.

“The evidence demonstrates that membership in the HAMC provided vendors of illegal drugs with a relatively trustworthy pool of clients,” she wrote. “Membership provided purchasers of illegal drugs with trustworthy vendors. I use the word ‘trustworthy’ to mean persons who were less likely to be police, to speak to the police, and to ‘cheat’ on a deal.”

Crown prosecutor Jeremy Streeter had little to say about the ruling, which was released last week.

“We have no comment, except to note that ... Her Honour finds that membership in the Hells Angels was used to commit the offences, but that, on the facts of this case, the specific property in question was not used to commit the offences,” Streeter said in an email.

Craig Bottomley, who represented the bikers, hailed the decision as an important one for the bikers and anyone else interested in property rights.

“This was an important win for the club and it serves to reinforce the verdict delivered by the jury, that the Hells Angels are not a criminal organization,” Bottomley said. “The court delivered a message in this case: emblems and symbols cannot be inherently criminal and the government must tie property directly to specific offences before it can take that property from citizens.

“This is not just a win for the Hells Angels, it is a win for property rights.”

Even though club members are getting back their black leather vests and jewelry, the victory is still a bittersweet one for the bikers.

Forestell ruled earlier this year that their former clubhouse, a fortified building in south Riverdale, must be forfeited to the Crown.

While the bikers get back their vests and jewelry, the clubhouse itself was found to be offence-related property, providing a safe haven for illegal activity.

The building was appraised at between $600,000 and $700,000, with an outstanding mortgage of $41,000, which is in default.

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/crime/a ... ders-crown
Dance as if no one's watching, sing as if no one's listening, and live everyday as if it were your last.

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain.
User avatar
oneh2obabe
Moderator
 
Posts: 46947
Likes: 4 posts
Liked in: 944 posts
Joined: Nov 23rd, 2007, 9:19 am

Re: Hells Angels: Give bikers gear back, judge orders Crown

Postby Liquidnails » Dec 3rd, 2012, 8:42 am

Sounds fair to me.
Liquidnails
Generalissimo Postalot
 
Posts: 754
Likes: 37 posts
Liked in: 95 posts
Joined: Mar 7th, 2010, 11:45 am

Re: Hells Angels: Give bikers gear back, judge orders Crown

Postby grammafreddy » Dec 3rd, 2012, 8:46 am

As much as I detest the HA, I have to agree, it was a fair decision in this case.

What boggles my mind, though, is how a jury could possible find that the Toronto HA club (or any HA club) is not a criminal organization. I may have to go looking for that trial stuff to find out how that could happen.
__________________________________________________________________________________________
We are a generation of idiots - smart phones and dumb people.

You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.
User avatar
grammafreddy
Chief Sh*t Disturber
 
Posts: 28551
Likes: 2199 posts
Liked in: 776 posts
Joined: Mar 17th, 2007, 10:52 am

Re: Hells Angels: Give bikers gear back, judge orders Crown

Postby oneh2obabe » Dec 3rd, 2012, 9:40 am

Not the first ruling. In 2008 a B.C. judge ruled that "a full-patch Hells Angels member and two of his associates are not members of a criminal organization."
http://www.ctvnews.ca/hells-angels-memb ... n-1.285544
Dance as if no one's watching, sing as if no one's listening, and live everyday as if it were your last.

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain.
User avatar
oneh2obabe
Moderator
 
Posts: 46947
Likes: 4 posts
Liked in: 944 posts
Joined: Nov 23rd, 2007, 9:19 am

Re: Hells Angels: Give bikers gear back, judge orders Crown

Postby dirtybiker » Dec 3rd, 2012, 12:11 pm

grammafreddy wrote:As much as I detest the HA, I have to agree, it was a fair decision in this case.

What boggles my mind, though, is how a jury could possible find that the Toronto HA club (or any HA club) is not a criminal organization. I may have to go looking for that trial stuff to find out how that could happen.


My take would be that; Since they are not allowed to wear their club garb while
commiting offences, it is at that point they are acting of their
own, individual accord.
"Don't 'p' down my neck then tell me it's raining!"
dirtybiker
Lord of the Board
 
Posts: 3568
Likes: 0 post
Liked in: 10 posts
Joined: Mar 8th, 2008, 7:00 pm
Location: Central OK

Re: Hells Angels: Give bikers gear back, judge orders Crown

Postby Ken7 » Dec 4th, 2012, 9:27 pm

dirtybiker - My take would be that; Since they are not allowed to wear their club garb while
commiting offences, it is at that point they are acting of their
own, individual accord.


What I question about this decision, is because you remove a article of clothing you are no longer part of that group or club??

It just makes me wonder how one could consider such a thing. If anyone finds the transcript before I do please post it.
Ken7
Lord of the Board
 
Posts: 3793
Likes: 589 posts
Liked in: 315 posts
Joined: Sep 30th, 2007, 4:09 pm

Re: Hells Angels: Give bikers gear back, judge orders Crown

Postby Ken7 » Dec 4th, 2012, 9:42 pm

http://www.canlii.org/eliisa/highlight. ... 53152.html

However this is dated : August 25, 2009, I believe this the case which must have been Appealed.
Ken7
Lord of the Board
 
Posts: 3793
Likes: 589 posts
Liked in: 315 posts
Joined: Sep 30th, 2007, 4:09 pm

Re: Hells Angels: Give bikers gear back, judge orders Crown

Postby oneh2obabe » Dec 4th, 2012, 9:56 pm

^^^Different case - that ruling was for property seized in Welland, Oshawa and Windsor. The latest ruling is for property seized from the Toronto clubhouse.
Dance as if no one's watching, sing as if no one's listening, and live everyday as if it were your last.

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain.
User avatar
oneh2obabe
Moderator
 
Posts: 46947
Likes: 4 posts
Liked in: 944 posts
Joined: Nov 23rd, 2007, 9:19 am


Return to Canada

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: canada bound, KL3-Something and 2 guests