Thursday, September 22, 2016

Salvatore Cazzetta scores legal victory - Gangsterism charges tossed

The Hells Angels scored another judicial victory Wednesday as a Superior Court judge tossed out a slew of charges against high-ranking club member Salvatore Cazzetta. Cazzetta was facing five counts of gangsterism and conspiracy to commit fraud among other alleged crimes stemming from a 2009 arrest. However, Judge James Brunton had to dismiss the charges because of a series of delays in Cazzetta’s trial.

The delays violated timeframes outlined by the Supreme Court of Canada’s Jordan decision — which states that Superior Court trials must be completed within 30 months of the suspect’s arraignment.
Defence lawyers argued Cazzetta’s trial would likely end only in the summer of 2017 — some 96 months after he was charged alongside other suspects in the Machine raids. The operation saw some 600 police from the RCMP, Sûreté du Québec and Kahnawake Peacekeepers break up an alleged contraband tobacco ring.

The case against Cazzetta’s co-accused — Peter Rice and his sons Peter Francis and Burton — was also thrown out Wednesday. This is the second time charges against Cazzetta have been dropped because of unreasonable court delays. In 2011, Cazzetta’s case and that of 30 others rounded up in the 2009 SharQC raids were also stayed.

Though Cazzetta will not serve time for the gangsterism charges, he’s still awaiting trial related to the Sûreté du Québec’s Magot-Mastiff’s organized crime probe.