|More than a decade after British Columbia’s Civil Forfeiture Office moved on a Hells Angels clubhouse in Nanaimo, the trial is finally set to begin. The office, which has netted more than $80-million in property since it opened its doors in 2006, plans to argue the clubhouse − as well as Hells Angels clubhouses in Vancouver and Kelowna that have been added to the case − are likely to be used to commit crimes in the future.|
The office has said the Hells Angels have a violent reputation and commit serious offences for their benefit. Lawyers for the Hells Angels are expected to counter that a section of the province’s civil-forfeiture legislation is unconstitutional and the B.C. government has created a new criminal process that lacks the presumption of innocence and the right against self-incrimination.
|Of the $82-million in property the office has obtained since it began operations, $37.5-million has been paid out in grants, while $1.6-million has compensated victims.|
The remaining $43-million has gone to the office’s operating costs, with approximately two-thirds of that money covering legal bills.