Manitoba's Justice Department today filed an application to have the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club declared a criminal organization.
If successful, it would eliminate the need to repeatedly prove the club is a criminal organization in future court proceedings under provincial laws, the government said in a news release.
It said it is the first use of the scheduling application process under amendments to the Manitoba Evidence Act and the first proceeding of its kind in North America.
Notice of the application must be publicized to give members of the organization an opportunity to review a summary of the case and object in writing. An independent external review panel made up of at least three people who are not government employees or police officers will be appointed to review all of the material to determine if the group meets the test of being a criminal organization.
In cases where the panel and the minister agree the test has been met, the government can list the entity as a criminal organization in a regulation under the Manitoba Evidence Act.
The list of criminal organizations can be used in proceedings under any provincial law including the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act, the Fortified Buildings Act and the Criminal Property Forfeiture Act.
While the list would be conclusive proof that certain groups are criminal organizations, it is not a registry of all gangs or gang members.
The legislation is available online at web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/e150e.php and outlines the role of the director in Manitoba Justice who is responsible for submitting applications under the act.