Hells Angel Damiano Di Popolo sues Gangsters Out blogger for defamation
Surrey blogger says he removed series of posts after member of Hell Angels applied for injunction
A member of the Hells Angels has launched a defamation suit against a Surrey, B.C., blogger committed to "outing" members of the gang.
In a B.C. Supreme Court notice of civil claim, Damiano Di Popolo claims a series of five articles published on Dennis Watson's Gangsters Out blog have exposed him to "contempt, ridicule and hatred."
Di Popolo says the posts imply he's a member of a criminal organization involved with a drug trafficking and stolen car ring.
But he claims nothing could be further from the truth.
"Mr. Di Popolo is an honest family man who has a loving common-law wife and six children with a seventh child on the way," the claim reads.
"He is dedicated to his family. He coaches little league, contributes to charity, attends the Catholic Church and is a member of the Italian community."
'Standing up for the truth'
A 2011 B.C. Supreme Court ruling identified Di Popolo as a member of the Hells Angels.
According to the claim, Watson's articles said the longshoreman was "president of the Kelowna Hells Angels that was charged in a large drug trafficking ring and convicted in of a huge stolen car ring."
Di Popolo claims Watson also implied he sent someone to the blogger's home to threaten him and scare his daughter.
But Di Popolo says he has never been charged with a criminal offence or convicted, and the Kelowna Hells Angels have never been collectively charged either.
He says he "makes an honest living" working at the docks. And he denies making any threats to Watson or his family.
In addition to suing for malice and defamation, Di Popolo sought an injunction forcing Watson to remove the posts in question.
The application has been adjourned, but on his blog, Watson says he "cut a deal and took them down."
He also wrote that he agreed not to talk about the case, except to one reporter.
"He asked me if I had any regrets," Watson wrote.
"I told him I regret this has adversely affected my children, but I don't regret standing up for the truth
Di Popolo claims the Supreme Court of Canada, the B.C. courts and the B.C. government have never labelled the Hells Angels a criminal organization.
Last year, the Manitoba government became the first in North America to label the club a criminal organization.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.