Trial of Hells Angel Robin Moulton will be held in Woodstock despite security concerns
Judge previously expressed concerns about case being dealt with in town's courthouse, relocated to Saint John
The trial of a Fredericton man identified by RCMP as a full-patch member of the Hells Angels will be held in Woodstock, N.B., in the same courthouse a judge had previously expressed security concerns about.
Robin Moulton, 48, is facing three cocaine trafficking-related charges and nine charges relating to firearms, namely a high-powered rifle with a silencer and a loaded 9-mm handgun, which he'd been banned from possessing for life.
He made a brief appearance in Saint John provincial court Thursday with co-accused Marie Antonette Bugay, 40, of Fredericton.
Bugay, identified by police as one of Moulton's "known associates," is facing 10 drug and weapons-related charges.
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They both elected to be tried by judge alone in the Court of Queen's Bench and waived their right to a preliminary inquiry.
Defence counsel Emily Cochrane, acting on behalf of Moulton's defence lawyer T.J. Burke and Bugay's defence lawyer George Kalinowski, requested the trial be held in Woodstock, as that's where the majority of the offences are alleged to have occurred.
Moulton's first court appearance after being arrested on Aug. 22 as part of a joint investigation into outlaw motorcycle gang activities in New Brunswick, was in Woodstock — a town located about 100 kilometres west of Fredericton.
Provincial court Judge Pierre Dubé had set the matter over without pleas, but switched the venue to Saint John, citing security concerns.
Unlike the Woodstock courthouse, the Saint John Law Courts building has underground access, so an accused doesn't have to walk outside from the sheriff's van to court.
There was no discussion during Thursday's hearing about how those concerns will be addressed during the pending trial, the date of which will be determined in April.
But Crown prosecutor Jillian Jordan, acting as agent for lead Crown Nicole Angers, consented to the location.
Moulton nodded slowly at the news, then stretched his neck from shoulder to shoulder, exposing his distinctive Hells Angel wing tattoo.
Bugay, who was standing in the prisoner's box with Moulton, with two sheriff's deputies between them, appeared to avoid making eye contact with him.
A handful of supporters in the courtroom showed no reaction.
Moulton and Bugay, who were previously denied bail, remain remanded.
They have both been in custody since August, when they were arrested separately.
Their pleas and elections had been delayed several times, most recently on Dec. 19. Moulton's defence lawyer, T.J. Burke, had requested more time to review the file, which is about 600 pages, and Bugay had just retained a new lawyer, the courtroom heard.
Moulton is charged with improperly storing a 9-mm handgun; possessing a restricted handgun without authorization; possessing a loaded, restricted firearm without a licence, and possessing a handgun while barred from doing so for life.
He is also charged with unsafe storage of a .308-calibre rifle; possession of a silencer for a dangerous purpose; possession of a silencer without authorization; possession of a firearm while barred for life, and possession of ammunition while barred from doing so for 10 years.
The three drug charges are trafficking in cocaine, possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, and possession of a press for use in trafficking. All of the offences are alleged to have occurred on or about Aug. 22, at or near Woodstock.
Bugay is charged jointly with Moulton on seven of the offences, plus on three of her own, which are alleged to have occurred in Fredericton.
Those charges include having possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and possession of a prohibited weapon, a Taser, on or about Aug. 24, and having possession on Aug. 29 of more than $5,000, knowing that all or part of it was obtained by the commission of an offence.
Moulton was arrested near Woodstock on Aug. 22 after being stopped while driving on the Trans-Canada Highway and charged after police executed search warrants at his Brunswick Street residence and "several" other locations across the province.
He is a member of the Hells Angels MC, Nomads New Brunswick chapter, according to the RCMP.
The chapter, which was established in the province last fall, is made up of longstanding, elite Hells Angels members, police have said. The organization is called Nomads because, unlike traditional chapters, it doesn't have its own clubhouse.
Bugay was arrested and released Aug. 24 after police searched a residence on Aberdeen Street in Fredericton, then re-arrested on Aug. 29.