Evidence the Hells Angels are a criminal gang was 'hearsay,' a judge ruled in a recent gun permit case. (Black Press Media files)

Evidence that Hells Angels are criminal gang ‘hearsay,’ judge rules in gun permit case

A full-patch member will get another chance at a gun permit, the judge ruled

A full-patch member of a Hells Angels chapter based in Langley will be allowed to appeal a ban on gun ownership, a judge in Chilliwack ruled recently.

In her ruling, Justice Francesca Marzari expressed doubt about the evidence given by a longtime retired RCMP officer that the Hells Angels is an organized crime group.

The case began when Gaston Methot attempted to renew a firearms permit he had held from 2012 to April, 2018, without incident.

The Firearms Officer issued a Notice of Refusal to Methot, citing Methot’s membership in the outlaw motorcycle gang.

Methot is a member of the West Point Chapter, a Lower Mainland-area group that, according to media reports, had a rented clubhouse in South Langley in recent years.

READ MORE: Hells Angels barred from booking Langley rec centre after booze-fuelled stripper parties

READ MORE: Two men charged after Hells Angel shot dead in South Surrey

The refusal to give Methot a firearms permit relied on a report by a 28-year veteran of the RCMP, Cpl. Sergio Da Silva, who in 2018 was with the Organized Gang Unit of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU), which combats organized crime in B.C.

Da Silva advised the Firearms Officer about the characteristics of the Hells Angels, and the Firearms Officer refused the license, writing “I find you represent the Hells Angels and are bound by rules that allow for violence and criminal acts, and that the police are your adversary.”

He found that the outlaw motorcycle club has a reputation for violence and criminal acts, and forbids its members from cooperating with police.

Methot appealed and a reference hearing was held in Abbotsford Provincial Court. The judge there again found that it was reasonable to refuse the license because Methot “is a member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, which is an organization that allows for violence and criminality, that restricts its members cooperation with police, and regards the police as adversaries.”

Public safety was at risk by giving Methot a gun license, the provincial court judge found.

But Marzari, in a January 22 ruling in Chilliwack Supreme Court, found that the judge had erred.

Part of Marzari’s ruling relied on changing standards of review in cases like this, based on a Supreme Court of Canada ruling. She also considered other recent court rulings that have limited the ability of police officers to offer the opinion that the Hells Angels are an organized crime group.

Da Silva’s report relied on “double or unattributed hearsay, use of the term ‘outlaw motorcycle gang,’ and aspects of his opinion that may be characterized as pure speculation,” Marzari wrote, agreeing with Methot’s lawyer.

“While some of this opinion evidence was factual and largely uncontested (for example, that Mr. Methot is a member of the Hells Angels) other aspects were highly contentious at the hearing and were based on hearsay and speculation that would ordinarily not be admissible, and which raise reliability issues,” Marzari added later in her ruling.

The hearing over Methot’s gun license was not a formal trial, and Marzari acknowledged that hearsay evidence is admissible in such a hearing.

But the judge should have considered the “weaknesses” of Da Silva’s evidence, Marzari wrote.

Marzari did not grant Methot his firearms license, but did rule that the Provincial Court has to reconsider the matter again, this time applying “the proper standard of review” to the decision and Da Silva’s expert evidence.

Police in B.C. have repeatedly characterized the Hells Angels as a violent organized crime group involved in the drug trade, and multiple Hells Angels members in B.C. have been murdered in recent years.

.


Have a story tip? Email: matthew.claxton@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

chilliwackgun controlgunsHells AngelsLangleyOrganized crime

Just Posted

A dogs in parks pilot study unanimously approved by Saanich council will evaluate how park space can best be shared between dog owners and non-owners alike. (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Saanich to study park-sharing strategy between those with and without pets

District-wide People, Parks and Dogs study to produce recommendations by fall

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.’s Indigenous language, art and culture

North Saanich advisor says initiative supports urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

General manager Lindsey Pomper says Sidney’s Star Cinema cannot wait welcome audiences when it reopens June 18, amid an easing of public health measures. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney’s Star Cinema raises curtain for the first time after months in the darkness

Iconic theatre to reopen at half capacity for Friday night showing

Staff member Lena Laitinen gives the wall at BoulderHouse a workout during a media tour on June 16. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
BoulderHouse raring to rock Langford

Popularity of bouldering continues to climb across Greater Victoria

The Sooke Potholes is a jewel in the community's crown. Transition Sooke hosts a town hall meeting on community growth on June 26. (Courtesy: Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke forum tackles community growth

To Grow or Not to Grow online town hall meeting set for June 26

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Most Read