The B.C. government is appealing a court ruling which denied it the seizure of three Hells Angels clubhouses located in Vancouver, Kelowna and Nanaimo.
The Director of Civil Forfeiture has long claimed the properties are used as instruments of criminal activity, but on June 11, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Barry Davies rejected that claim. He also ruled that part of the Civil Forfeiture Act, specifically regarding the instrument of unlawful activity provisions, was both unconstitutional and outside the jurisdiction of the provincial government.
On Tuesday, July 9, the province filed two notices of appeal related to Davies’ decision: The Director of Civil Forfeiture is appealing his ruling on the clubhouses and the B.C.’s attorney general is appealing his finding on the act.
The director is again looking to have the three properties turned over to the province.
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 alleged evidence of illegal activity found during a multi-year investigation by the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, a gang task force, 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.
Davies’ decision in June ultimately found the clubhouses do not “play an important role in enabling and empowering members of the Hells Angels to engage in serious crime for financial gain.”
Despite evidence of crimes committed inside East End clubhouse in the 2000s, Davies said there was no proof they were committed to benefit the organization and no evidence was presented that the Nanaimo and Kelowna clubhouses were used to commit crimes, despite the convictions of individual members.
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