P.E.I. outlaw gang legislation may not hold up, says criminologist

Province proposing new legislation to limit gang activity on P.E.I.

The P.E.I. government's plan to try to limit outlaw motorcycle gang activity through legislation may meet with legal challenges, says Halifax criminologist Stephen Schneider.

The province recently announced it was considering several measures to make outlaw motorcycle gang activity more difficult.

Saint Mary's University criminologist Stephen Schneider told CBC News the use of provincial legislation to control gangs has become quite common in recent years.

 

Police say a Hells Angels chapter is setting up in Charlottetown.

Police say a Hells Angels chapter is setting up in Charlottetown. (Radio-Canada)

"The point about civil law is it places the onus on the defendant to prove that he or she is actually not committing crime," said Schneider.

"It's less burden of proof compared to the criminal court."

Prairie provinces challenged

Examples of civil law aimed at biker gangs include a ban on colours in bars in Saskatchewan, and an Alberta law allowing police to expel gang members from bars.

"This legislation gives them the right to expel anyone that they feel, or they have intelligence information, that that they are the member of a gang," said Schneider.

But the Alberta legislation is being challenged in the courts, in a case for which Schneider has provided expert testimony for the government. That case was ordered to go to full trial by the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta at the end of November.

The Saskatchewan law was struck down in provincial court in 2009. The province amended the legislation, but it was never proclaimed.

The challenges are based on two principles: the right of freedom of association, and the exclusive right of the federal government to enact criminal law, says Schneider.

Freedom of association is enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and lawyers argue the province is using civil law in lieu of criminal law.

Bikers say they will fight discrimination

A group called the Atlantic Confederation of Clubs and Independents met in Charlottetown recently to discuss the province's plans.

The group's Facebook page says its mission is to fight discrimination against bikers. The group also released a statement saying it "Vehemently opposes the government's attempts to erode the Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

The province responded saying it did not intend to introduce legislation that would infringe anyone's Charter rights.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet
Country: 
News Article written by: 
Kevin Yarr
Source of News article: 
cbc.ca




Related Articles


Elk Hunt   Fly Fishing Guide
  Silver Stock
  Biker News

Disclaimer: The opinions in this article are solely those of the writer, and may not reflect the beliefs of anyone at the Biker News Network/Outlaw Biker World. This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. If you believe that your copyrighted work has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement and is accessible on this site or through this service, you may notify our copyright agent, as set forth in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA). For your complaint to be valid under the DMCA, it must meet certain criteria, and you must Click Here to contact acting agent.