Prosecution agrees to drop many charges in Hells Angels mega-trials
The prosecution agreed to drop many of the charges against the embattled Hells Angels of Quebec Monday, to save time and increase their chances of convictions in upcoming mega-trials.
The provincial court is readying a series of mega-trials on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, against a large number of suspects connected to the gang.
Initially, the court was to hear the cases of over 100 bikers, each charged with 22 counts of murders, but Monday, it was reduced to nine counts.
Defence lawyer Marc Labelle called for a further reduction to the charges.
"The evidence against one person is used against another and then you become guilty by association," he said.
More than 155 Hells Angels were arrested in 2009.
The case rests on the theory that every Hells Angel in Quebec contributed to a war chest used to pay hit men to murder their rivals, making each member a co-conspirator, claims the prosecution.
Two members have since turned informant.
Despite their information, the concern with the case is that the sheer number of the accused could render the mega-trial unmanageable, even if it were broken down to regional chapters.
Suspect John Coates, from the Hells' Sherbrooke chapter, was informed by his lawyer that he would need to find another attorney to represent him.
"It's a huge investment in time that a lot of people aren't ready to make, that me, personally, I'm not willing to make," said defence attorney Tom Walsh.