Monday, October 19, 2015

The question of colours in the SharQc courtroom

Daniel Normand
Should a Hells Angel be allowed to wear his gang colours while attending court proceedings where fellow gang members are accused of murdering for the group?

That’s the situation special constables at the Gouin courthouse found themselves in on Sept. 27, 2013, when Daniel Normand, 57, of the gang’s South chapter, showed up for a court hearing dressed in a jacket that included the Hells Angels notorious death-head patch on his back. Wearing the patch is a sign the man sporting it is a full-patch member of the world’s most notorious biker gang. Normand was among the dozens of Hells Angels who were arrested in Operation SharQc, in April 2009. But on that day in 2013 he was a free man.
Normand was allowed to sit in the courtroom, with his gang colours on, but other special constables were made aware of his presence. On Nov. 26, 2013, Madeleine Giauque, the former lead prosecutor in SharQc, filed a motion seeking to have a definitive opinion on the issue. In her motion she wrote that: “the emblems associated with the Hells Angels and other outlaw motorcycle gangs are notably tools of propaganda and intimidation for this organization."

In a decision that was subject to a publication ban until the murder trial of five men arrested in SharQc was aborted last week, Quebec Superior Court Justice James Brunton agreed to Giauque’s request, but only in part.