Extortion trial ends with guilty verdict

NANAIMO – An alleged member of the Nanaimo Hells Angels has been found guilty for his part in an extortion plot.

Robert Frederick Widdifield, an alleged full-patch member of the Nanaimo Hells Angels, has been found guilty by a B.C. Supreme Court judge for his part in an extortion plot.

In his ruling Tuesday, Judge Robin Baird said the charges of extortion and theft over $5,000 against Widdifield stem from an October 2010 incident where a person, who can’t be named due to a publication ban, was ordered to pay $160,000, punched in the face and had a boat taken as “collateral.”

Baird said Widdifield didn’t commit the acts of extortion and theft. However, the judge found beyond a reasonable doubt that, within the dates set out in the indictment, Widdifield participated in concert with three others – an alleged Hells Angels member and two associates – in a common unlawful enterprise of extorting and stealing.

Widdifield, along with the others, was originally charged shortly after the 2010 incident, but the charges against him were stayed in June 2013, due to court delays.

The Crown successfully appealed the ruling to the B.C. Supreme Court. Widdifield’s subsequent trial took place this fall.

Given sentencing for Widdifield and two related proceedings are still before the courts, Neil MacKenzie, Crown counsel spokesman, said there wasn’t much Crown could comment on until sentencing was complete.

“Certainly this was a case the Crown concluded should be pursued and I think that was reflected in the fact that the Crown pursued the appeal of the judicial stay of proceedings that had been entered earlier in the case, in 2013,” MacKenzie said.

A date to set sentencing is Jan. 12.