Photo: File photo Motorcycles lined up outside the Kelowna Hells Angels clubhouse on Ellis Street.
A date has yet to be set for the province’s appeal of the B.C. Supreme Court decision that saw the Hells Angels keep their clubhouses in Kelowna, Nanaimo and East Vancouver.
In June, the court ruled against the B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office in its bid to seize the three clubhouses, almost 13 years after the province started proceedings against the Nanaimo house.
While the province had initially argued the three residences were acquired by the proceeds of crime, have been used in the past as instruments of crime, and would in the future be used as instruments of crime, the government changed its allegations in August 2015, narrowing its claims to say only that the properties would be used in the future to carry out crimes.
In his decision, Justice Barry Davies ruled the part of the Civil Forfeiture Act involving future crimes was unconstitutional, as it’s outside the jurisdiction of the province.
Shortly after the decision came down, the province filed appeals of the decision on the forfeiture of the three buildings and on the decision on the act itself. In a decision by the BC Court of Appeals Friday, the court ruled that in future forfeiture cases, the B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office will continue to be able to rely on the likely use of property for future crimes, until the appeal is completed.
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There are approximately 200 active forfeiture cases in B.C. and Phil Tawtel, Executive Director of the Civil Forfeiture Office said the majority of these active cases rely on the both the “past prong and future prong” in the act.
Tawtel argued the province’s appeal is likely to succeed, and there is a “public interest” in continuing to rely on the future prong until the appeal is completed.
At this time, no appeals date has been set.