Hell’s Angels clubhouses to remain frozen until forfeiture trial

Supreme Court rejects sale overture about properties in Nanaimo, Kelowna and Vancouver

  • Jul. 25, 2016 9:00 a.m.

Use of the Nanaimo Hell’s Angels clubhouse remains under the control of the province, along with two other B.C. clubhouses, the B.C. Supreme Court has ruled.

In a decision released July 14, Justice Barry Davies concluded that motorcycle club assets including the clubhouses in Nanaimo, Kelowna and the east end of Vancouver will remain frozen until the conclusion of a trial scheduled for May of next year.

In a case that has been before the courts in one form or another for nearly nine years, lawyers for the motorcycle club had been seeking clarification on whether it could sell each clubhouse and keep the proceeds. In the process, they hoped to eliminate the need to send the matter to trial by eliminating the possibility the property could be used for future unlawful activity.

“In my opinion, a Special Case decision on the hypothetical issue now raised by the applicant defendants would neither advance the litigation efficiently nor save expense for either the parties or the Court,” Davies wrote while denying that option.

“Past history persuades me that if the applicants were successful, an appeal would be inevitable. If they were not successful, the time and resources expended on the application would be wasted and could also result in an appeal. In either case the pending trial date would almost certainly be lost.”

He granted an “interim preservation order” over the Kelowna and Vancouver properties similar to a pre-existing order on the Nanaimo property, dictating the conditions of use, maintenance or sale of each prior to the May trial.

That trial will decide whether the B.C. Civil Forfeiture office was justified in a pair of actions: the 2007 decision to seize the Nanaimo clubhouse and its contents as likely future “instruments of unlawful activity,” followed by a similar order in 2012 relating to club assets in Kelowna and Vancouver.

The motorcycle club has challenged each action as unconstitutional.

— Black Press

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