No one will ever accuse me of being a defender of the Hells Angels. In point of fact, I am on record on many occasions saying that police must be given more tools and more resources to fight not only the bikers, but all aspects of organized crime. Which, I might add, notwithstanding the abdication of responsibility by Madame Justice Anne MacKenzie in the trial of full-patch member David Francis Giles, the Hells Angels are clearly a criminal organization as has been stated by courts in BC and Ontario in previous decisions.
Having said all that, there is something decidedly wrong with what has occurred in the sentencing of three unnamed members of the biker gang for contempt of court.
I don’t know what has gone on in camera in this case in which Madame Justice MacKenzie agreed to a ban on publication of the names. And that is essentially the problem. The old adage is that Justice must not only be done, but it must be seen to be done.
How can we determine if justice was in fact done in this case if we cannot know the names and the details of the offense? Justice carried out behind a curtain is not justice in a democracy. It may pass for justice in a tin-pot dictatorship like Cuba, but it is not justice in my eyes.
Madame Justice MacKenzie demonstrated a profound lack of understanding of the Hells Angels and how their business operates in her judgement in Giles case. That lack of understanding is, in my view, a disservice to the public. The contempt citations against unnamed individuals who were allegedly a part of the criminal enterprise is nothing more than a furtherance of the disservice.