Almost five years after the province seized the Nanaimo Hells Angels’ clubhouse, no date for a civil trial has been set to determine the fate of the property.
In November 2007, the clubhouse and an adjacent vacant property were seized by the province under the province’s Civil Forfeiture Act.
The law, created in 2006, gives the province the power to seize goods when it is demonstrated in civil courts those items were used in or acquired as a result of unlawful activity.
Since the 2007 seizure, the biker group appealed the original interim preservation order allowing the province to seize the clubhouse property, but that appeal was denied in B.C. Supreme Court in March 2009, when Justice Barry Davies also granted the province an enduring interim preservation order until the trial of the forfeiture action.
The Hells Angels then appealed the enduring interim preservation order, but that appeal was denied in 2010.
Last year, a B.C. Supreme Court judge determined that police evidence collected during a two-year investigation of the club can be used in the civil trial over the group’s clubhouse.
Rob Kroeker, executive director of the province’s Civil Forfeiture Office, said initial hopes were for a trial in the fall of 2011, which was moved up to last spring, but the parties are dealing with a number of different pre-trial applications.
“It is a large piece of complex litigation and what’s occurred so far is pretty normal,” he said. “We’re moving close to trial with the assistance of the court as they help us narrow the issues. There’s a significant amount of material.”
Scheduling the trial for next spring has been talked about, but a date has yet to be set, Kroeker added.
Meanwhile, the Civil Forfeiture Office is responsible for upkeep of the property on Victoria Road while awaiting trial.
Kroeker said the office is responsible for cutting the grass, weeding, picking up garbage and other tasks to maintain the property.