The province has lost a lengthy legal battle in which it was attempting to seize Hells Angels clubhouses in Kelowna, Nanaimo and Vancouver’s east end.
The proceedings, some of which date back to 2007, finally came to a close on June 11, with Supreme Court Justice Barry Davies ruling “it cannot be proven the clubhouses will be used unlawfully in the future.”
This ruling dismisses the claims of the director of the Civil Forfeiture Office.
“Although the director adduced evidence that proves that members and associates of the East End, Kelowna and Nanaimo chapters have been convicted of criminal offences that were committed after 2005, none of those offences were proven to have involved or engaged any use of the clubhouses,” Davies wrote.
The province began its pursuit of the Nanaimo clubhouse in 2007, obtaining a court order allowing the government to hold the property and its contents throughout the length of the court proceedings. The court made that order based on evidence of illegal activity found during a multi-year investigation titled Project Halo by a Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit into various alleged criminal activities of the Hells Angels in Nanaimo.
Proceedings seeking the forfeiture of the East End and Kelowna clubhouses began in 2012, alleging they had also been used as instruments of unlawful activity.
Since August 2015, the province sought the forfeiture of the clubhouses on the basis that they are likely to be used in the future for unlawful activity, and not past or present uses of the facility.
The Civil Forfeiture Office will release custody of the Nanaimo clubhouse and its contents, including three motorcycles belonging to three individual members, to the Hells Angels.
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