Hells Angels Officially Declared Criminal Outfit by Manitoba

Manitoba has officially declared the Hells Angels as a bona fide criminal organization in the province. The province’s Justice Minister, Andrew Swan, made the announcement in a statement issued on Friday which said that Manitoba has become the first North American jurisdiction to have rightfully recognized the biker gang as a criminal outfit.

Even though the decision is welcomed by law enforcement, the designation will only be application to prosecutions against gang members under provincial laws, not federal laws against guns, drugs and violent crimes. Swan explained that it means that Crown attorneys will not need to call expert witnesses in order to prove in each case that the Hells Angels are a criminal organization when gang members and associates are being prosecuted under a provincial law. These laws include the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act, the Fortified Buildings Act and the Criminal Property Forfeiture Act, which is being used to seize the Hells Angels clubhouse on Scotia Street.

In addition to that, Swan alleged that he hopes Ottawa will further expand the suit and implement a federal designation that will also enable the Crown to prosecute gang members on Criminal Code and drug offences under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which are the most common offences with which gang members are charged and result in prison time. Speaking about Ottawa, Swan said that “I believe they are interested” and “I expect they are trying to find the right way to go about doing that in a way that can be upheld in court.”

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