Three men are headed to the hoosegow after a man attempted to start a motorcycle club in Nova Scotia and shit went off the rails.
The men going away belong to the Bacchus Motorcycle Club—Nova Scotia’s dominant club. They were found guilty of extortion, harassment, intimidation, and threatening behaviour directed at a man who attempted to start a motorcycle club on their turf. Come with me kids as we try and learn a lesson from this goddamn mess.
To start, entering the world of motorcycle clubs is a business fraught with perils. The people involved can be pretty dangerous, and there are a lot of weird rules, meaning that starting an actual MC is kinda, you know, a bad idea. It really leads us to question why this guy and his buddies didn’t just ride together in peace, but that’s beside the point now. What we know is that RM (how he is referred to in the court documents) is described as a “simple motorcycle enthusiast” and must have really, really wanted to start a club.
After presumably watching too much Sons of Anarchy, RM “decided that [his] club should have its own distinctive name, and logo.” A logo that includes a name and territory is known as a three-piece patch which typically signifies an outlaw motorcycle club. Well, our earnest boy RM—who was going to go with the name “Wolverines MC”—decided to do some internet research. This research showed him that starting one of these out of the blue was a bad idea and led him to reach out to members of the Bacchus Motorcycle Club—who have connections to the Hells Angels—to try and get permission.
So RM spoke with Patrick James, a representative of BMC, on Facebook and held personal meetings with him. James told him in relatively strong terms that, he should not do this as it would “be seen as a provocation and sign of disrespect by existing ‘three patch’ motorcycle clubs in Nova Scotia.” Our boy, adamant as ever, talked James into letting him start a “one patch” MC club—but not a three-piece patch club or an offshoot of one. With this tentative permission, RM went and spoke to a Montreal club called The Brotherhood to start a one-piece patch Nova Scotia chapter—RM and his boys travelled to Montreal for The Brotherhood’s annual meet-up to get acquainted with their new club and patched in.
This is where it—SHOCKINGLY—goes bad for RM and his club, who had apparently posted a photo of themselves in Montreal on Facebook. When returning from Montreal, James was, shall we say, pissed. He texted RM over and over in a threatening manner; a neighbour called one of the other two newly-minted Brotherhood members to say there were five BMC members at their house looking for them. Then when RM was home, James “rode his Harley Davidson motorcycle, wearing his BMC cut and colours, to RM's workplace, and settled himself into a chair in RM's office, to wait for RM.” When RM showed up James closed the door and proceeded to ask him, in a myriad of ways, “what the fuck were you thinking?” After having his family threatened, RM was then given a “get out of jail fucking free card”: remove the Facebook post, cut up his newly-patched clothing, and have the Brotherhood say they weren’t starting a chapter in Nova Scotia.
RM complied with this and he and his group had their cut-up leathers delivered personally to James. This might have been it but members of the BMC interacted with RM when they ran into each other at a recreational biker charity meet-up. BMC members Duayne Howe and David Pearce—the other two men aside from James found guilty—decided to make their displeasure known.
What was said to RM, quoted in the court documents, was rather detailed and included such quips as “the only reason why we don't kick the living shit out of you right fucking now is because there's too many fucking people around,” and “I'm telling you to get the fuck out of here right now or you're going to get the shit kicked out of you” and “what makes you think you can fucking disrespect us and then show your fucking face around here?” and “you are fucking done”—I’m sure at this point you get the idea.
RM was, understandably, rather shaken up by this interaction—“I am fully satisfied that RM was, in his words ‘scared shitless,’” reads a portion of the judge's ruling. Afterwards he “immediately changed his appearance. He sought the protection of the police. [And] a panic alarm was installed in his home.“ Saddest of all, the man who just wanted to ride motorcycles with his friends under the guise of the Wolverines MC sold his bike “and no longer rode motorcycles or attended any motorcycle-related events.”
After hearing all this evidence and hearing the crown argue that James, Pearce, and Howe were attempting to further the BMC’s reputation for violence and dominance of the Nova Scotian turf, the judge didn’t go easy on the men. After being found guilty in the summer, this week James was sentenced to three years, Howe to two years, and Pearce to 18 months. The three men are filing an appeal.
Look, no one should be treated in the way that RM was for simply wanting to start up his own club like the cool folks on TV—and in all honesty, The Wolverines is kinda a sweet name—but we don’t live in a perfect world. Sadly, in the reality we live in, some concessions need to be made and, to be frank, not starting up a fully patched motorcycle club is one of them.
Regardless of all the threats and lessons learned, at the very least this tale could be a great Coen Brothers film one day.
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