Amsterdam Hells Angels case dismissed

A long-running court case in which 22 Hells Angels are accused of being part of a criminal organisation has been thrown out by judges in Amsterdam because the public prosecution department broke rules on evidence.

The court has ruled that the public prosecutor broke the law by failing to destroy transcripts of secret recordings of telephone conversations between the accused and their lawyers.
The judges said the public prosecution department had ‘seriously… and repeatedly broken the rules’. The seriousness of the charges facing the Hells Angels is less important than the consequences of the department’s conduct for society in general, the judges said.
The transcripts should have been destroyed because conversations between lawyers and defendants are confidential and cannot be used in investigations.
News agency ANP reports that Gert Oldekamp, who was in charge of the case against the Hells Angels from 2003 to the beginning of this year, repeatedly refused to destroy the reports.
Last week prosecution department officials told the court that the transcripts had not influenced the investigation.
The court’s decision is a severe blow to the public prosecution department which has invested heavily in trying to have the Hells Angels declared an illegal organisation.

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