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Saturday, 13 December 2008

Remond Akleh a member of the Hells Angels' Nomads wing, has taken the extraordinary measure of taking the stand in his own defence

longtime Hells Angel was overcome with emotion as he described the risks he's taking to defend himself against allegations of conspiring to murder an underworld rival."I believe my life is in extreme danger and so is my family's," Remond Akleh said Tuesday morning, before dissolving into tears.Mr. Akleh, a member of the Hells Angels' Nomads wing, has taken the extraordinary measure of taking the stand in his own defence and testifying about his activities as a police informant. He told a Superior Court jury Tuesday he had to waive his confidentiality agreement with Durham police and talk about his days as an informant in order to prove his innocence."I needed this all to come out so everyone would know," an emotional Mr. Akleh said, acknowledging at the same time the information places him and his family in grave peril."Today I wish I could take it all back," he said of sharing information with police."I don't know what the future holds. I could find myself in a ditch somewhere."Mr. Akleh and Oshawa Hells Angels president Mark Stephenson have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to commit murder and counselling to commit murder. During this trial, which began in Whitby in October, jurors heard Steven Gault, a police agent who infiltrated the Angels, testify the men enlisted him in June of 2006 to murder Frank Lenti, a Woodbridge biker with ties to the rival Bandidos gang. The alleged plot was never acted on.Mr. Akleh said Tuesday he started talking in 2003 with a Durham police officer Mr. Gault was convicted of threatening. The men had something in common, Mr. Akleh said: He testified Mr. Gault threatened to kill him after he raised concerns among Oshawa bikers that Mr. Gault was a police informant. (For his trouble Mr. Akleh was virtually drummed out of the Oshawa chapter and strongly advised to leave Durham Region, jurors heard. Mr. Akleh said he took that advice; he moved before his Taunton Road home sold and carried two mortgages for almost a year.)As time went on Mr. Akleh shared more information, talking to the officer about Mr. Gault and other members of the Oshawa chapter. He said he realized he was breaching a cardinal tenet of biker culture, but was motivated by a desire to protect himself and his family from Mr. Gault and others."I wasn't being loyal to the Hells Angels at all," Mr. Akleh observed. "I was doing what I thought was best for myself and my family."Jurors heard Mr. Akleh's accusations about Mr. Gault stirred anger among the Oshawa Angels. He testified he'd had a gun held to his head and was warned to get out of the region.And Mr. Akleh said he received a stark warning when he attended the funeral of retired Angel Bill (Mr. Bill) Lavoie in September 2006. He said he was standing at the grave site, taking shelter from the rain under an umbrella when a fellow biker approached him."A gentleman came up to me and gave me a hug and said to watch my back, I'd be next," Mr. Akleh testified in response to questions by defence counsel Glen Orr.In other testimony, Mr. Akleh flatly denied advising Mr. Gault to murder Mr. Lenti. He said that when the question of Mr. Lenti being offered a Hells Angels patch was put to a vote, he voted in favour of it."I knew Mr. Lenti," he testified. "I never had a problem with him."
The trial, before Justice Bruce Glass, continues.


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