Hells Angels mega-trial postponed another week
7 members and associates of biker gang face murder, conspiracy charges stemming from SharQc arrests
The Hells Angels mega-trial set to begin today in Montreal has been delayed another week to replace a jury member who was excused from the proceedings.
A juror informed the court last week that he received a job promotion and could no longer take part in trial.
The trial is now scheduled to begin next Monday, Aug. 10.
Seven known associates or members of the biker gang in Quebec were expected to finally stand trial Monday morning, six years after the SharQc sting operation that netted 156 arrests.
Facing various criminal charges, including conspiracy and murder, are:
- Claude Berger.
- Sylvain Vachon.
- François Vachon.
- Yvon Tanguay.
- Michel Vallières.
- Christian Ménard.
- Emery Martin
Before the court proceedings were adjourned, one of the accused, Martin, pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
The trial, which will take place at the Gouin courthouse, is expected to last between 18 and 24 months.
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Last Friday, two other defendants who were also to stand trial — Louis Ruel and François Goupil — pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder. The first-degree murder charges they were facing will be dropped, according to the Crown.
In July, a 10th defendant, Jacques Dumais, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder.
In 2009, a number of police forces raided bunkers and biker hangouts across the province and New Brunswick.
In the end, 156 people were arrested in the sting operation, and charged with a variety of offences including murder, conspiracy to commit murder, drug trafficking and gangsterism.
More than 100 of those arrested have pleaded guilty, while 31 others were released in 2011 after a judge ruled there had been unreasonable delays in their cases.
Another three people have died since being charged, while eight others are still at large.
A final pair of accused, Robert Bonomo and John Coates, have a date for an English-language trial set for January 2017.