A well-known member of the Manitoba Hells Angels who allegedly broke the arm of a 14-year-old leukemia patient has been released from custody — despite strong objections by justice officials.
Full details of the Aug. 5 random attack in Winnipeg emerged for the first time Friday at a bail hearing. There is no publication ban on the proceedings.
Rod Sweeney, 45, is charged with aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. He had been in custody since his Aug. 13 arrest. None of the allegations has been proven and he is presumed innocent.
Defence lawyer Gerri Wiebe told court Sweeney can’t be kept behind bars just because he happens to be a member of the Hells Angels.
“That’s a red herring being dangled in front of you,” she said. “Mr. Sweeney is cloaked in the presumption of innocence.”
Provincial Court Judge John Guy agreed, saying he has to consider the strength of the Crown’s case in determining bail. He said it’s clear there are issues that will have to be litigated later.
And while Sweeney has a lengthy criminal record, including several acts of violence, it’s virtually spotless during the past 10 years.
“The Crown has not met the onus,” said Guy.
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