NEWS

Hells Angels mega-trial begins Monday in Montreal

08/03/2015 05:00 EDT | Updated 08/02/2016 05:59 EDT
Seven known associates or members of the Hells Angels in Quebec will finally stand trial, six years after the SharQc sting operation that netted 156 arrests.

Claude Berger, Sylvain Vachon, François Vachon, Yvon Tanguay, Michel Vallières, Christian Ménard and Emery Martin are facing various criminal charges, including conspiracy and murder.

The trial, which will take place at Montreal's Gouin courthouse, is expected to last between 18 and 24 months.

Earlier this week two other defendants who were also to stand trial — Louis Ruel and François Goupil — pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder. The first-degree murder charges they were also facing will be dropped, according to the Crown.

In July a tenth defendant, Jacques Dumais, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder.

In 2009, a number of police forces raided bunkers and biker hangouts across the province and New Brunswick.

In the end, 156 people were arrested in the sting operation. Those arrested were charged with a variety of offences including murder, conspiracy to commit murder, drug trafficking and gangsterism.

More than 100 of those arrested have pleaded guilty, while 31 others were released in 2011 after a judge ruled there had been unreasonable delays in their cases.

Another three people have died since being charged, while eight others are still at large.

A final pair of accused, Robert Bonomo and John Coates, has a date for an English-language trial set for January 2017.

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