The Hells Angels will have to find a new spot to hang out after a Feb. 15, decision ruled in favour of seizing three of the gang’s B.C. clubhouses.
The decision is on an appeal of a past ruling which was the culmination of more than a decade of investigations, counterclaims, pre-trial proceedings and a lengthy trial where the forfeiture to the province of three clubhouses operated by the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club was denied.
In 2020, Justice Davies ruled that there was insufficient evidence that the crimes committed by numerous members of the club were done at the direction or for the benefit of the Hells Angels, and were not facilitated by the clubhouses.
Davies found “no evidence” of any use of the Nanaimo and Kelowna clubhouses for criminal activity or planning of future unlawful activity.
The Hells Angels are a worldwide organization with an estimated membership of 6,000 people, all of who abide to the strict rules and participate in motorcycle rides and group meetings held at their chapter’s clubhouse.
The members of the Hells Angels chapter that occupies each clubhouse is its beneficial owner. Prior to the decision, members were able to access the houses, however their assets have been frozen for several years.
The Director of Civil Forfeiture appealed the decision, alleging that there were errors in Justice Davies interpretation of an “instrument of unlawful activity,” the decision and in the fact-finding process.
The director challenged the decision that the clubhouses were not going to be used for future “unlawful activity,” alleging that the clubhouses have been used in the past for engaging in criminal activity, and will be used in the future to engage in and facilitate crime.
The director stated that the clubhouses act as “safe-houses” providing a secure space for members to commit or conspire to commit crime.
Together, three supreme court judges decided that the clubhouses have and will continue to enhance member’s ability to commit crime, while reducing the risk or detection. Justices Newbury, Grauer and Marchand granted the appeal.
The land titles for the Nanaimo, Vancouver and Kelowna clubhouses will be handed over to the province.
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