Supreme Court allows new trial for alleged Hells Angels members
The Supreme Court of Canada.
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, July 20, 2012 11:07AM EDT
OTTAWA -- Canada's top court has dismissed an appeal by two men seeking to avoid trial on gang charges.
The Supreme Court ruling allows the B.C. Crown to proceed with a new trial for John Punko and Randy Potts, who were accused of belonging to the East End Charter of Hells Angels in Vancouver.
They were acquitted of criminal organization charges in 2009 in a provincial court case -- though convicted of drug and other charges.
The federal government then sought to prosecute them anew on the gang charges as part of a federal drug case.
The pair successfully challenged that attempt, arguing that since a jury had already acquitted them of gang charges, it had to be because they didn't believe the Hells Angels were a gang.
Therefore, they argued, the Crown couldn't try and convict them of criminal organization offences.
But the Crown challenged the decision and a new trial was ordered.
The two men then appealed to the Supreme Court.
The top court sided today with the Crown, arguing that a finding that the Hells Angels was not a criminal organization was not logically necessary to the acquittal.