Hells Angels mega-trial jury told to prepare for a marathon
Trial expected to last between 18 and 24 months
After last week's false start, the Hells Angels mega-trial has begun at Montreal's Gouin courthouse.
The trial start date was postponed last week after one of the jurors was excused.
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The five accused include Yvon Tanguay, Michel Vallières, Claude Berger, and brothersSylvain Vachon and François Vachon. Four of the accused were detained behind a glass wall, while Berger, who is on bail, sat in the courtroom.
They are facing various charges, including conspiracy to commit murder and murder.
On Monday, Judge James Brunton told the jury they were running a marathon, not a sprint.
The men are facing 34 charges and the judge told jury members to "treat this like 34 trials," weighing the evidence for each count separately.
He explained the charges and reminded all 14 jurors that they would have to reach their verdict solely on fact and not prejudice.
The jurors are not allowed to do any outside research on the alleged crimes and they're not allowed to speak with one another until deliberation.
SharQc sting nets 156 arrests in 2009
A total of 156 people were arrested in 2009 on charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, drug trafficking and gangsterism during the SharQc operation — a massive sting aimed at dismantling the outlaw motorcycle gang.
In order to avoid a trial 105 of those arrested have pleaded guilty, some of those to lesser charges. Another 31 were released in 2011 after a judge ruled there had been unreasonable delays in their cases.
The charges against Christian Ménard were dropped completely. He had been facing charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in connection with a killing 14 years ago.
Three people have died since being charged and eight others are still at large.
The trial could last between 18 and 24 months. The judge told court Monday that he hopes the trial will not last that long.
Two of the accused, Robert Bonomo and John Coates, have a separate date for an English-language trial in January 2017.