Prime Time Crime  

(Prime Time Crime exclusive Feb. 26, 2007)

Forfeiture of Hells Angels patches and vests

By Bruce Lee

 

 

In Pearson v R (Quebec Superior Court, #200-01-032193-975, January 31,2007), Claude-C. Gagnon J. ordered the forfeiture of 35 Hells Angels patches and 9 Hells Angels vests (along with all patches and insignia on the vests) despite the fact that they had not been entered as evidence in the trial and had not been used in any crime. There was no evidence that any offence had been committed in relation to this property.

Gagnon J. ordered the forfeiture by virtue of paragraph 490.1(2) of the Criminal Code. He found that the patches and vests should be forfeited because he was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that they were offence-related property. Although he did not find that the property had been used in connection with an offence, he did find that it was "intended for use for the purpose of committing an indictable offence" under the Criminal Code

Gagnon J. found that the evidence had clearly demonstrated that those who wear these patches and vest use them as a tools for intimidation and to show their link with the Hells Angels organization, which has a reputation for its power and its violence. It is their work uniform and it helps them carry out their job, i.e. crime.

This finding was founded on evidence that the Crown had presented through three witnesses at the forfeiture hearing. The ex-police officer and expert witness Guy Ouellet filed a report that explained how the Hells Angels' symbols and colours give power to members by inspiring fear in others. Wearing these emblems helps them to stake out their territory and insure their control of the drug market. "Support" emblems are used for visibility tours in order to intimidate the competition and control territory. When Hells Angels associates have to be disciplined for not following rules or instructions, their colours are taken away. "Wearing the emblems of the Hells Angels organization is a primary facilitator in the commission of crime, the intimidation of citizens or adversaries, the takeover and control of territories for criminal activity."

The two other witnesses were former participants in the Hells Angels organization. They explained how they were sent out wearing "Support" clothing in order to maintain authority over licensed establishments for the purpose of selling drugs.

   

Pearson v R 07-01-31   .pdf (1.2MB in French)

Prime Time Crime

Contributing Writers