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

Cat defenders Kimberly Feeny (left) and Zeke Sijohn (centre) stand beside Councillor Neil Krog after signing a lease at city hall for the Boundary Helping Hands’ cat shelter. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks’ city hall leases vacant home for cat shelter

Boundary Helping Hands’ Chair Kimberly Feeny said the shelter hopes to start adopting cats soon

Christopher Blair McLean appeared at the Grand Forks courthouse on Wednesday, March 3. File photo
Greenwood man won’t stand trial for alleged city assault

The man was awaiting trial in Grand Forks

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

Midway’s Boundary Expo Recreation Centre (above) is a mainstay of the local community and the Boundary area more broadly, according to Village officials. Photo: Submitted
West Boundary arena to get equipment overhaul thanks to provincial grant

The funds are being put toward new refrigeration equipment at Midway’s Boundary Expo Rec. Centre

A member of the Avalanche Canada South Rockies field team gathers important snowpack data that is used to produce daily avalanche forecasts for the region. Photo by Jennifer Coulter.
Warming temperatures increase avalanche risk heading into the weekend

Warm temperatures impact conditions, human behaviour

Thursday, Feb. 4: RDKB Chief Engineer Darryl Funk hoists a banner commemorating last year’s championship season by the Bantam House Bruins. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Bantam Bruins honoured at hair-raising banner ceremony at Grand Forks’ Jack Goddard Arena

Asst. coach Mike Tollis said he reluctantly gave in to the team’s victory wish that he cut his pony tale

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

(Pxhere)
B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

Most Read