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Crown, defence close cases in Hells Angel trial
Published Thursday, December 8, 2016 7:11PM CST
The Crown and defence have presented their evidence in the Rob Allen drug trafficking trial and are expected to submit written final arguments in the coming weeks.
The Hells Angel’s trial began Monday in Saskatoon’s Court of Queen’s Bench after the 36-year-old was arrested as part of the January 2015 Project Forseti raids in Saskatchewan and Alberta. He was one of 14 people arrested.
Allen testified Wednesday he led a police informant on about the idea of a cocaine deal so he could continue receiving opioids to feed his addiction.
“My client gave evidence to show that he had no intention of trafficking in any drugs,” defence lawyer Morris Bodnar told reporters outside of court Thursday. “He simply used it as a ruse so he would be supplied with (OxyContin) and fentanyl.”
Noel Harder, who officially signed up to be a police informant in the case in December 2014, was the only Crown witness called in the trial. He said in 2014 he and Allen were planning to move one kilogram of cocaine to Saskatoon from Hells Angels in Ontario. Harder would sell the cocaine, and although Allen would never be in direct contact with the drugs, he would receive a $5,000 cut, according to Harder.
When Allen took the stand Wednesday, he testified he had no intention of moving any cocaine to Saskatoon. He said Harder approached him about the deal. The ideas behind the price, suppliers and Allen’s cut came from Harder.
“He was constantly asking me to bring drugs in,” Allen said while under cross-examination.
He testified he went along with Harder’s plan because he feared losing his connection to receiving opioids.
“Our submission is likely going to be that that’s not necessarily something that's that believable,” prosecutor Douglas Curliss said outside court Thursday.
Allen was prescribed OxyContin for a back injury in 2012 and eventually became addicted, he testified. He spent between $1,000 and $2,000 a month on OxyContin and fentanyl, and bought it exclusively from Harder and two of Harder’s associates.
He shook the addiction after his arrest last year and is no longer dependent on opioids, he said.
Bodnar said there are numerous factors the judge must consider as part of the defence, including that no drug deal ever went through.
“No drugs exchanged hands for nine months plus. A person could have walked from eastern Canada with a kilo of coke and got it here sooner,” he said.
Curliss said while no deal took place, offering to traffic drugs is still considered illegal.
“If one offers to traffic, the controlled drugs act says that's an offence, or if one sells baking powder and holds it out to be cocaine, that’s an offence as well.”
While on the stand, Harder said police instructed him to target about 30 people, including Allen and other Hells Angels members, in the Project Forseti investigation.
At the time he was the vice-president of the Fallen Saints, a group police describe as a puppet club of the Hells Angels.
Harder said he was instructed numerous times by police to meet with Allen to discuss the cocaine deal. Sometimes they met, other times Allen didn’t make himself available.
During the trial court heard audio recordings and text messages between Allen and Harder, who talked in code, wrote things down and used hand gestures to discuss illegal activity. Allen didn’t dispute much of Harder’s testimony when he explained what the two were discussing, but he did say he was just playing along, even fabricating a story about why one attempt to get the cocaine fell through.
Court also heard Harder was offered a $300,000 reward for his work in Project Forseti as well as a living allowance, which he still receives today.
Bodnar presented financial records that show Allen was making around $2,000 per year while working as a manager in structural iron work prior to his arrest in 2015.
During cross-examination Curliss presented documents that show Allen faulted on his mortgage twice in 2014.
Bodnar indicated if Allen is found guilty he may argue entrapment — when a law enforcement agent convinces someone to commit a crime who otherwise wouldn’t do so.
Due to the large amount of transcripts to refer to, the lawyers will file their closing arguments in writing in December and January. They are scheduled to present oral arguments on Jan.16.