Hells Angel Jesse Bitz denies Leonard Banga death threats
Defense says no proof Jesse Bitz threatened owner of Xtreme Mining and Demolition
Leonard Banga says that a Saskatoon Hells Angel threatened to kill him and his family.
But the lawyer for Jesse Bitz, now a former Hells Angel, said there's no proof threatened anyone. And he wondered why Banga went on a trip to Cuba with other Hells Angels after the supposed threats were made.
Such was the back-and-forth in a Saskatoon courtroom today as Jesse Bitz stood trial on charges that he threatened to kill the owner of Xtreme Mining and Demolition.
The case dates back to the fall of 2012. That's when Bitz, who worked for Banga, got caught sleeping on the job at the Agrium potash mine, where Xtreme Mining did work underground.
Banga said that he fired Bitz, triggering the alleged threats.
The prosecutor played a series of audiotapes of conversations between Bitz and Banga made at the time without Bitz's knowledge. They are laden with profanity and bad feeling but, under cross-examination, Banga conceded they do not contain death threats.
Banga said that the threats were made, but not recorded.
He detailed three confrontations with Bitz, including a wrestling match in the ditch on Highway 11 south of Saskatoon and a shouting match in Cabela's, caught on the store's surveillance cameras.
Bitz's lawyer, Morris Bodnar, suggested that Bitz quit and was not fired. He said that Banga was upset that the biker would walk away from a six-figure job to work somewhere else.
He also got Banga to confirm that he went on a trip to Cuba with other Hells Angels after his confrontation with Bitz.
Banga admitted to the trip, but said that Bitz was not along and that the other Hells Angels were trying make amends for Bitz's behaviour.
CBC reporter Dan Zakreski is tweeting live from the courtroom. The trial is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. CST.
Bitz had worked for Banga until he was fired after the pair had a falling out. It's alleged he made the death threats after he got fired.
"This new hiring policy came into effect due to the matter currently before the courts, and industry expectations," Banga said.
"Xtreme Mining and Demolition enacted a new hiring policy in the fall of 2013 to prevent individuals with a history of violence and/or involvement in organized crime from working in safety sensitive situations."
Three of the Hells Angels fired after the policy change are now threatening legal action.
The trial continues.