High priced songbirds

Here in Toronto, the trial against a half dozen Hells Angels on a variety of (sometimes minor) drug and weapons charges. The case is framed around the testimony of David (Shaky Dave) Atwell, former sergeant-at-arms of the Downtown chapter. Exactly how much Atwell is being paid isn’t clear, but it’s far more than he made as a celebrity bodyguard. Not surprisingly, local Hells Angels have taken to call him “Ratwell.”

The Oshawa clubhouse is closed now, due in large part to the paid testimony of its former secretary  Steven Gault. He received more than $1-million. Last I heard, he still hadn’t paid a court-ordered penalty to pay for reconstructive surgery for a man whose ear he partially chomped off in a bar fight.

Now in Winnipeg, Hells Angels president Ernie Dew is on trial for weapons offenses. Again, the prosecution has a former insider testifying for money. This time the tab is $500,000.

Not that long ago, this sort of thing was unheard of. The only high profile biker informers in Canada that come to mind for the 1970s-90s are Cecil Kirby and Yves (Apache) Trudeau. Now they’re commonplace, although far too expensive to call a dime a dozen.

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