06/04/2013 08:53 EDT | Updated 08/04/2013 05:12 EDT

Frederick Widdifield, Hells Angels Member, Has Charges Stayed

VANCOUVER - A full-patch member of the Hells Angels chapter in Nanaimo, B.C., has succeeded in getting charges of extortion and theft stayed after a judge ruled his charter rights were violated because the case took too long to get to trial.

Frederick Widdifield's lawyer argued that the Crown and circumstances involving his client's three co-accused were to blame for the delay.

Widdifield and three others linked to the Hells Angels were charged in October 2010, and the trial was scheduled to start in October 2012 but was then put off until this fall.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Johnston said in a written ruling issued Tuesday that the Crown contributed to the delay with its errors in disclosure and should have proceeded to trial against Widdifield alone instead of with his co-accused.

Johnston said a lawyer for another full-patch Hells Angels member, Raj Sandhu, was in a conflict of interest because she had earlier advised police in a related investigation called Project Halo.

He said there was a further delay when the trial was supposed to start last fall when the lawyer for Hells Angels enforcer Jeffrey Benvin needed heart surgery.

All of it has caused stress for Widdifield, who couldn't travel to the U.S. with his wife because of the charges against him, the judge noted.