Aging biker Uwe Weser apparently just wants to live the quiet life in Canada and, despite the protestations of the police, he's going to get his wish.
Weser has successfully fended off deportation back to his homeland in Switzerland after an Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) tribunal rejected evidence that his membership the Wagos Motorcycle Club back home puts him in the thick of biker criminal activity.
In its decision last November, not made public until now, the IRB said the Immigration Department failed to establish that Weser, who has no criminal record, had engaged in illegal activity or that Wagos was anything more than a group of Euro motorcycle enthusiasts.
In reaching that conclusion, experts say the board ignored clear evidence to the contrary, according to the National Post.
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That included the "1%" patch Weser wore on his club "colours," documented in photographs of the 67-year-old biker. Weser, who moved to Quebec with his Canadian wife last year, had shipped his belongings in advance. Customs agents searching the shipping container found photos of Weser with members of the Hells Angels, an Angels T-shirt and an address book containing phone numbers of Hells Angels members, the Post said.
At Weser's deportation hearing, Sgt. Alain Belleau of the Sûreté du Québec testified the 1% patch denotes a club's involvement in criminality.
The reference apparently dates from the rise of outlaw biker clubs in the late 1940s and 50s, when the American Motorcyclist Association reportedly stated that 99 per cent of motorcyclists were law-abiding citizens. The association has disavowed the comment.
But Weser, who belonged to the Wagos from 1993 to 2011, testified the patch was a symbol meaning "honesty, openness and respect."
The IRB accepted that.
“There is no similar presumption in the legislation or in the case law that would enable the panel to legally make a presumption about an organization’s criminal activities,” Dianne Tordorf wrote in her decision, according to the Post.
“Mr. Weser’s wearing the 1% symbol is insufficient to conclude that Mr. Weser, or the members of the Wagos, commit, or have ever committed, offences that are part of a pattern of planned and organized criminal activity.”
Ridiculous, said Yves Lavigne, who's written several books on biker gangs.
“The ‘1%’ is universally recognized as being worn by bikers who live outside society’s norms, laws and values. And I underline laws. They are dedicated to a criminal lifestyle,” he told the Post.
“The 1% patch has nothing to do with honesty. It is a declaration that dishonesty is a way of life.”
The IRB previously has ruled that affiliation with the Hells Angels provides grounds for deportation, but apparently Weser's connection was not enough to taint him.