Hells Angels member has charges dropped ahead of SharQc mega-trial
Former police investigator 'disappointed' by dropped charges after waiting 6 years
Christian Ménard won't stand trial for murder and conspiracy next week after the Crown confirmed the charges against the reputed member of the Hells Angels had been dropped.
Ménard, 37, had been charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in connection with a killing 14 years ago. He was arrested in 2009 during a massive sting operation, dubbed SharQc, on the outlaw motorcycle gang.
He is reputedly affiliated with the Sherbrooke chapter of the Hells Angels.
The Crown has not explained why the charges have been dropped.
Sylvain Tremblay, one of the provincial police investigators who worked on the SharQC investigation, said he doesn't understand the decision now, after six years of waiting.
"It's disturbing and very disappointing," he said.
Only 5 out of 156 arrested face trial next week
Back in 2009, police arrested 156 people on charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, drug trafficking and gangsterism during the SharQc operation.
But only five accused will be in court when the biker mega-trial starts next week. They include:
- Claude Berger.
- Sylvain Vachon.
- François Vachon.
- Yvon Tanguay.
- Michel Vallières.
More than 100 people nabbed in the 2009 sting have pleaded guilty and 31 others were released in 2011 after a judge ruled there were unreasonable delays in their cases.
Three people have died since being charged, eight others are still at large, and several have pleaded guilty to reduced charges in the past few weeks.
The mega-trial is expected to start at the Gouin courthouse in Montreal next Monday.
It could last between 18 and 24 months.
Two of the accused, Robert Bonomo and John Coates, have a separate date for an English-language trial in January 2017.