British Columbia

Hells Angel says he feels shunned

The president of the Vancouver chapter of the Hells Angels says people have been rude to him and his feelings have been hurt since the group was ruled a criminal organization by an Ontario judge last year.

The president of the Vancouver chapter of the Hells Angels says people have been rude to him and his feelings have been hurt since the group was ruled a criminal organization by an Ontario judge last year.

In an affidavit filed in B.C. Supreme Court, Rick Ciarniello lists a number of public snubs including acouple in a restaurant who asked to be moved because they didn't want to sit next to him after he walked in wearing Hells Angels colours.

He also claims he has been treated rudely by his local supermarket staff, and he says many people are no longer friendly toward him, and instead fear him or avoid him altogether.

His lawyers say these snubs violate Ciarniello's rights under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and they want key sections of the federal anti-gang legislation struck down.

Anti-gang laws needed, says government lawyer

Government lawyers say Ciarniello may have been inconvenienced, but deny it's any kind of attack on his constitutional rights.

Lawyer Mark Levitz, who isarguing againstthe Hells Angel petition on behalf of the B.C. government, argues the anti-gang legislation is needed to fight organized crime.

"There's several cases out there dealing with these issues. There's one before the B.C. Court of Appeal, one in Saskatchewan, and Ontario will be dealing with it. It's very important. Obviously the constitutionality of any part of the Criminal Code is important, particularly the criminal organization [section], it's very important."

He also saysCiarniello should be making his arguments to a judge in Ontario. That's where convicted Hells Angels are appealing the judgment that the motorcycle club is a criminal organization.

The 61-year-oldCiarniello's only criminal conviction dates back to 1971, and he's not currently facing any charges.

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