column was published in the North
Shore News on
Aug. 23, 2000)
on organized crime
By Leo Knight
Friday, Alberta Provincial Court Judge Allan Fradsham delivered
a 110-page decision effectively stating the police had breached
the rights of 150 or so Hells Angels who were travelling to Red
Deer in July 1997 to attend the formal "patchover" of
the Grim Reapers bike gang.
decision was the result of a court challenge made by the Angels,
which involved numerous days of testimony from a variety of
people, including the local media darling, criminology Professor
Neil Boyd of Simon Fraser University. Boyd, long an advocate of
legalizing marijuana, was a defence witness in the case. He
testified, "My opinion is that chapters in Western Canada
are not involved in organized crime as chapters or as a regional
testimony came from his vast experience and interviewing
"32 members and visiting various clubhouses in the past
couple of months."
let me get this straight. The professor interviews the bikers
and accepts their largesse and parties with them at the
clubhouses and from this he determines they are not involved in
organized crime. And he's passed off as some kind of expert in a
court of law?
did he do for his research? Ask the bikers if they were involved
in organized crime? And when they said, "No sir!"...
alrighty then, case closed! Let's go to the clubhouse and have a
my view, whatever credibility Boyd might have had is now
permanently, irretrievably destroyed. Three years ago, Professor
Rob Gordon, who runs the SFU criminology department, wrote a
report on gang activity, which referred to the Hells Angels as a
criminal business organization. Evidently Boyd's level of
research doesn't even require he talk to his colleagues at SFU,
let alone the cops who investigate organized crime.
neither do judges.
Fradsham ruled on three points of law. Essentially, he said the
police breached the bikers' rights in detaining them for several
hours on the roadside while they identified and photographed
everyone for intelligence purposes. But, he also said there was
no breach on the Angels' freedom of association or freedom of
it should be said that I don't inherently have a problem with
the ruling itself. It is to be expected from those who worship
at the altar of the Charter and park their common sense
elsewhere. My concerns come about from some of the comments made
by the judge in his written conclusions.
When he concluded the police did not breach the Angels' right to freedom of mobility and association, he stated the police were operating on the basis of "unsupported conclusions." He also termed the bikers as "unsavory characters." But, he refused to recognize that the Hells Angels are an organized crime group. This is unbelievable.
Never mind examples like the ongoing war over drug turf in Quebec with the Rock Machine and the 150 plus associated deaths or the host of documented evidence presented annually and publicly by Criminal Intelligence Services Canada to Parliament.
if you will, the comments of Alberta Judge B.R. Fraser, a
colleague of Fradsham, in a case involving a former Hells Angel,
Anthony Leonard Vaughan, who pleaded guilty last year to 13
criminal charges including possession of a bomb, a 2.2-kilogram
tube of dynamite.
the decision in that case, Judge Fraser made this statement:
"The accused has a lengthy, serious and unenviable record.
That should be expected given he was a member of the Hells
what does this judge know, that everyone else in the justice
system also knows, that somehow Fradsham can't seem to grasp?
case against Vaughan was much talked about in the halls of
justice in Alberta. Vaughan you see had a problem. He owed a
considerable sum of money in a drug debt to another member. To
repay the debt, he was ordered to bomb some homes including one
of a Calgary alderman.
got himself jammed up by the police in an unrelated criminal
matter and offered to testify against the Angel who ordered the
bombings. He consented to wiretaps and electronic surveillance
to gather evidence against the biker. That case is still before
the courts so I will not go into it. The result was the deal
Vaughan made with the Crown on his outstanding charges which
Fraser was dealing with.
on in his reasons for judgement, Judge Fraser said, "The
accused has agreed to give evidence against the person charged
with these serious criminal charges arising from the information
supplied by him. He will be a key material witness for the
Crown. His evidence will probably determine whether a conviction
is registered against the Hells Angel member accused.
consequences to the accused for doing so are grave. He will most
likely never be able to live the same life again. He will most
certainly need protection from a notorious group of people known
as the Hells Angels until he testifies and long after. I am
advised that at this moment, there is a half million dollar
contract out on his life, offered by the Hells Angels,"
concluded Fradsham's brother Judge Fraser.
Amazing how, according to Fradsham, the police were acting on "unsupported conclusions" about these "unsavory characters."