On the morning of Oct. 9, 2015, five full-patch Hells Angels members filed into a heavy-security courtroom at a specially built courthouse in north-end Montreal.
They were among 100 Quebec Hells Angels arrested in sweeping raids in 2009 and accused of conspiring to murder more than 150 people during Quebec’s biker war in the 1990s. The five men in court in October 2015 had been charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
But in a stunning move, Superior Court Justice James Brunton ordered a stay of proceedings and ruled that the five men should be set free. The decision came after the Crown prosecutors in the case had refused to give the Hells Angels’ defence lawyers a police report that could have cleared their clients.
Brunton called it an abuse of process and said the Crown had a win-at-all-costs attitude.
As the decision was read, one of the Hells, in the prisoner’s box, pumped his arm upward and gave the courtroom a thumbs-up. A few hours later, the bikers walked free.
The last episode of our podcast The Dark North: Gangs of Montreal looks at that court case and the fate of the Hells Angels since 2015.
Montreal’s underworld looks very different today than it did in 1977, where our podcast started.
The Montreal Mafia has no leader and the Hells Angels are calling the shots.
The Dark North: Gangs of Montreal is hosted by Paul Cherry, the Montreal Gazette’s crime reporter. You can subscribe to The Dark North on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher.