Morris Bodnar, who has represented Hells Angels in Saskatchewan, said the idea of such a blanket declaration is just “posturing” by the provincial government.
“This has nothing to do with justice; it has to do with politics,” Bodnar said in an interview Friday.
“They don’t have to protect the public from Hells Angels. Hells Angels are very seldom in trouble.”
Bodnar has repeatedly disputed that the Hells Angels are a criminal organization. He said a small number of members may be involved in drug dealing or violence, but they are acting as individuals and are often expelled from the organization if they are caught up in the law.
Why the gang fits the bill as a criminal organization:
- Evidence from numerous Canadian trials shows the Hells Angels are structured to ensure conformity to their rules, prevent infiltration by rivals and police and to maintain an effective criminal network. Courts have found that chapters are not independent entities but instead conform to rules and work collectively to meet the broader objectives.
- Membership in the Hells Angels consists of full patch members, prospective members, hang-arounds, official friends, and associates.
- Full-patch members seek to insulate themselves from police and rivals by using subordinate members and associate gangs to commit crimes and protect gang assets. Membership is an incremental process over years to test a recruit’s loyalty and prevent infiltration by police or rival gang members. Internal Hells Angels records show that photos and information about potential new members are distributed across the country to try to identify unwanted members.
- The colours of the Hells Angels are formed by the term “Hells Angels,” the club’s death head logo and red and white lettering. These items have been trademarked in numerous countries. Only a full-patch member can wear the Hells Angels logo and vote on club issues and strategies. Courts have noted the “power of the patch” worn by the Hells Angels, since it has been used to intimidate and create fear from the public and gang rivals. As a result, some courts have declared items displaying these identifying colours to be forfeited as offence-related property.
- Clubhouses are the base for each Hells Angels chapter. Courts have found they are generally fortified and equipped with security measures. Courts have ordered Hells Angels clubhouses forfeited as instruments or proceeds of crime in Ontario (Toronto, Thunder Bay and Oshawa), Halifax and Quebec. Several other clubhouses, including one in Winnipeg, have been seized pending criminal property forfeiture applications. Manitoba and Saskatchewan have also used provincial laws to order the removal of fortifications from Hells Angels clubhouses as they are a public safety threat.
- Hells Angels and their associate groups have been found with counter-surveillance equipment designed to detect police listening devices, sensitive justice documents on gang rivals and information about police investigators.
- The Hells Angels use subordinate “puppet” criminal organizations to commit crimes and advance their interests. This also helps to identify potential new members of the Hells Angels. For example, several members of one of the Manitoba Hells Angels’ support clubs, the Zig Zag Crew, have moved up to become full members. Gang wars in Quebec, Manitoba and Ontario have highlighted the roles played by these associate groups. Manitoba’s Zig Zag Crew and Redlined gangs have been convicted for drug and other crimes in support of the Hells Angels.
- Courts in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba have found the Hells Angels to be a criminal organization in dozens of individual criminal prosecutions. Hells Angels have a long record of violence in Canada including the murder of two justice officials in Quebec in 1997, a gang war with the Rock Machine in Quebec that resulted in an estimated 150 murders over the course of a decade, and extensive drug trafficking and related crimes in Manitoba.