B.C. government appeals court order returning Nanaimo clubhouse to Hells Angels

VANCOUVER — The B.C. government is appealing a court ruling that rejected its claim that Hells Angels clubhouses in Nanaimo, Vancouver and Kelowna should be forfeited as instruments of criminal activity.

The June 11 ruling by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Barry Davies also found that part of the Civil Forfeiture Act was unconstitutional and outside of the jurisdiction of the provincial government.

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This week, B.C.’s attorney general filed an appeal of Davies’ finding on the act itself, while the director of civil forfeiture is appealing the decision against forfeiting the three clubhouses.

In the notice of appeal, the director is seeking to have Davies’ order overturned and to grant his original request to have the proceeds of the sale of all three clubhouses forfeited to the government.

The long-running civil case began in November 2007, when the director filed a lawsuit seeking the Nanaimo clubhouse’s forfeiture after an RCMP raid.

In 2012, the civil forfeiture case was expanded to include both the East End clubhouse at 3598 East Georgia St. in Vancouver and one in Kelowna at 837 Ellis St.

That same year, the Hells Angels counter-sued the government, claiming the Civil Forfeiture Act was unconstitutional.

The Hells Angels have had access to the Kelowna and East End clubhouses throughout the proceedings, but the Nanaimo chapter was prevented from entering the dilapidated building at 805 Victoria Rd. until last month.

Club members were observed putting up a new illuminated sign there on June 26. The bikers still operate a newer clubhouse they developed on a neighbouring property.

Kim Bolan

Vancouver Sun

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