Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Charges stayed for Angel associates

May be sign of weak case against other gang suspects

  • Print
THE Crown has stayed charges against four of nine Hells Angels associates who were charged in connection with a string of violent, intimidation-related crimes, including firebombings, drive-by shootings and plotting to kill.

The five remaining accused and lawyers speaking on their behalf argue the dismissal raises questions about the strength of the Crown's case against their clients.

Lawyers and others involved say a common thread in the case against the four biker associates -- as well as the five still facing trial -- is that the chief evidence against them was to be supplied by former gang member Robert Coquette, now a police informer.

The Crown offered no explanation in court for the staying of the charges during several appearances since March 4. Crown attorney Don Slough, director of special prosecutions, said he could not comment.

Lawyer Jay Prober, who acts for two of the gang associates, raised questions about the quality of Coquette's evidence.

"It's either because the Crown is not satisfied with Robert Coquette's evidence, or they don't want to bring him out too many times to testify," Prober said.

The four who had their cases stayed have ties to the Zig Zag Crew, the street enforcers for the Hells Angels. They were charged last year.

The Crown is proceeding by direct indictment against the five remaining gang associates, meaning no preliminary hearing will be held to test the Crown's evidence. The five remaining accused have been held in pre-trial custody for more than a year.

Their trial date has been set for next Jan. 20 and is expected to last 18 months to two years, given the amount of phone wiretap evidence, which encompasses more than 120,000 phone conversations. The case is bogged down in a dispute over lawyers' fees.

Prober argues that with the charges against the four men being stayed, the Crown's case against the remaining five men will be undermined.

"What's happened with the other cases may be a precursor of what the Crown is faced with in this direct indictment," Prober added.

"They don't want to bring (Coquette) forward," said gang associate Andrew O'Neill, who is still in custody on a separate, outstanding drug charge. "I believe it has to be selective prosecution. What else could it be?"

Slough said the Crown intends to prosecute the five other gang suspects regardless of what happened with the other four cases.

"We have every intention to proceed," he said. "I am not going to comment on someone's theories."

Slough also said the mega-prosecution could be speeded up if lawyers like Prober agreed to immediately represent the five men -- all but one of whom are without lawyers because of the funding standoff.

The four men who have had charges stayed are Zig Zag Crew gang member Sean Demchuk and gang associates O'Neill, Ryan Jones and Darcy Weaver.

On March 4, the Crown stayed kidnapping and assault charges against Jones and Weaver in connection with a Dec. 12, 2001 incident in which a known drug trafficker was driven outside of the city, partially stripped and forced to walk back in sub-zero temperatures. He was picked up by a passerby and taken to hospital for treatment. It's believed the incident was over a drug debt.

On June 10, the Crown also stayed charges of discharging a firearm with intent and unauthorized possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle against Demchuk and O'Neill in connection with a Nov. 30, 2000 drive-by shooting in Osborne Village.

Police say they believe a group of men in two cars fired at several men in a 1993 Honda Civic, slightly wounding three men. The gunfire was believed to be the opening salvo in a war between the Hells Angels network and an unnamed drug cartel over drug turf.

In both cases, the chief evidence against Demchuk, O'Neill, Weaver and Jones were statements given to police by Coquette. The victims in the two cases were not expected to testify.

The five men under direct indictment are Ian Grant, Sean Wolfe, Dale Donovan, Ralph Moar and Harold Amos. Wolfe is applying for bail June 24.

In total, they are charged with 36 offences in connection with a year-long crime spree police allege was intended to win control of the city's drug trade and intimidate a female city police officer.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 22, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Total Body Tune-Up: Farmer's Carry

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • STDUP ‚Äì Beautiful West End  begins it's summer of bloom with boulevard s, front yards  and even back lane gardens ,  coming alive with flowers , daisies and poppies  dress up a backyard lane on Camden St near Wolseley Ave  KEN GIGLIOTTI  / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  /  June 26 2012
  • MIKE APORIUS/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS BUSINESS - cow on farm owned by cattle farmer Lloyd Buchanan near Argyle Wednesday afternoon -see Larry Kusch's story  January 04/2006

View More Gallery Photos


Are you concerned about the number of homicides so far this year?

View Results

Ads by Google