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

Cloverdale robbery suspect. (Surrey RCMP photo)
Man charged in relation to four separate robberies in Cloverdale

Jake Eric Henderson allegedly committed four gas station robberies in January

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Tribunal to hear transgender inmate’s human rights complaint against Surrey Pretrial

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

An eagle sits in trees overlooking 1001 Steps in South Surrey, January 2021. The City of Surrey has received international recognition as a ‘tree city’ but an environmental group calls it an ‘empty accolade.’ (Tracy Holmes photo)
Environment organization calls Surrey’s ‘tree city’ designation ‘empty accolade’

Committee chair Allison Patton says international recognition is encouraging and sets a trend

This map illustrates the number of active COVID-19 cases in Greater Vancouver from Feb. 21 to Feb. 27, 2021. (BC Centre for Disease Control image)
Delta’s COVID-19 numbers continue to climb

Total number of cases in Fraser Health increased by 206 from Feb. 21-27

Live Well Exercise Clinic CEO Sara Hodson and Trevor Linden’s Club 16 partner Carl Ulmer are pushing for gym memberships and services to become tax deductible. (Contributed photo)
Semiahmoo Peninsula fitness pros leading charge on tax-deductible gym memberships

Live Well Exercise Clinic CEO Sara Hodson pitched idea to deputy prime minister

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Shiromali Krishnaraj arrives from India and receives a mandatory COVID-19 test at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. B.C.’s approved rapid tests also use a nasal swab, with a machine to scan for COVID-19 antibodies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s rapid COVID-19 tests have produced only two positive results

Tests deployed for exposures in schools, outbreaks in care homes, jails

BC Emergency Health Services confirmed that a call was received just before 10 a.m. Ground paramedics, as well as an air ambulance, are on the way to the area. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BREAKING: Helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

The Nanaimo bar display at the Nanaimo Museum. (City of Nanaimo Instagram)
City of Nanaimo points to correct recipe after New York Times botches batch of bars

City addresses ‘controversy’ around dessert square’s layers

A man holds a picture of Chantel Moore during a healing gathering at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria on June 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. First Nation demands transparency in probe into second fatal RCMP shooting

‘Police have killed more Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation members than COVID’

Hope’s station house, moved from its original location along the railroad to 111 Old Hope Princeton Way. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
Citizens file B.C. Ombudsperson complaint against Hope Council in Station House fracas

Demolition contract has been awarded, completed by April 30

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of dead B.C. Hells Angels prospect to be divided between wife, secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Most Read