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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press file photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for man who tried to grab boy near Robertson elementary school

A man in a parked minivan reached out the driver side window as a young boy passed by

Hope’s station house, moved from its original location along the railroad to 111 Old Hope Princeton Way. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
Some Canadians are finding butter harder than usual, resulting in an avalanche of social media controversy around #buttergate. (Brett Williams/The Observer)
#Buttergate: Concerns around hard butter hit Agassiz and beyond

The first in a three part series on dairy farming, palm oil and Canadian consumers

Almost 400 new child care spaces for the Fraser Valley. (Thinkstock Image)
Child-care spaces boosted by provincial fund across the Fraser Valley

400 licensed child-care spaces coming for Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, and Maple Ridge families

Photo: Surrey RCMP
Surrey RCMP arrests two boys, age 16, during dial-a-dope investigation in Whalley

Sergeant Elenore Sturko said one boy is ‘alleged to have been in possession of a loaded handgun at the time of his arrest’

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Langley RCMP outside of Walnut Grove Secondary on Wednesday, March 3. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
UPDATE: Bomb threat forces evacuation of Langley high school

Police asked the public to avoid 88th Avenue and Walnut Grove Drive

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

BC Human Rights Tribunal. (The Canadian Press)
Human rights tribunal rejects complaint against Surrey brewery

Tribunal dismisses former worker’s claim he was bullied because of his ethnicity

Beginning late Tuesday, anti-pipeline protesters blocked the intersection of Hastings Street and Clark Drive in Vancouver. (Instagram/Braidedwarriors)
Demonstrators block key access to Vancouver port over jail for pipeline protester

They group is protesting a 90-day jail sentence handed to a fellow anti-pipeline protester

Most Read