'I'm terrified': Hells Angels bust informant says witness protection failing his family
Noel Harder suing over treatment in the RCMP witness protection program
A man suing RCMP over his treatment in the witness protection program is speaking out.
"I'm terrified," Noel Harder said this week in a telephone interview with CBC News from an undisclosed location.
"Not so much for myself, but for my family and what I'm putting them through."
Harder's testimony and other evidence has been central to the prosecution of members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and others in an operation known as Project Forseti. Millions of dollars in drugs, weapons and cash were seized during the resulting raids.
Harder said he now fears for his family's safety. He said RCMP are threatening him with ejection or "non-voluntary termination" from the program. He also said RCMP have not compensated them as promised for the loss of their business, home, vehicles and previous life back in the Saskatoon area.
Harder said his two children have not attended school in nearly two years for fears their family will be discovered. The family has been relocated several times.
Harder said the kids have had to leave behind new friends, as well as cats, guinea pigs and other pets.
'I've ruined their lives'
"I feel like hell, man. I've ruined their lives," Harder said.
"They're tough, but they're taking it real hard."
Harder said he's tried to avoid contact with anyone from his previous life, but it appears they found him several weeks ago. That's why they've been relocated again.
"The many people who Harder built cases against were members of Motorcycle Clubs reputed for violence and worse. He was and is a marked man," states the lawsuit, which is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.
RCMP don't comment on witness protection
None of the lawsuit allegations have been proven in court. RCMP declined comment for this story, saying they typically don't comment on anything to do with witness protection.
RCMP have not yet issued a written response to the lawsuit.
Harder's lawyer, Tony Merchant, said the public doesn't have to like his client. Harder was previously convicted of drug trafficking and at least one judge has questioned his motives and honesty. The public should, however, realize the vital role people like Harder play in prosecuting some of society's worst criminals, Merchant said.
Witness protection key for prosecutions: Merchant
If witnesses aren't confident they'll be protected or compensated for their losses, they are less likely to come forward or cooperate, Merchant said.
"Mr. Harder and his endangered family are only some of those who have found government dishonesty has devastating consequences for their lives," Merchant said in a statement.
Harder said there are more cases coming up requiring him to testify. He said he's been diagnosed with anxiety disorder and lives in constant fear of being discovered. He said he's not sure when his family will ever be able to live a normal life.
Once the trials are all done, Harder said he hopes to leave everything far behind.
"We're not safe anywhere in Canada," Harder said. "So we need a big enough settlement to be able to actually leave Canada and go somewhere and restart a life."