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Mom who ratted out Hells Angel booted from witness protection

Gary Dimmock Ottawa (Ottawa Citizen) – The RCMP have expelled a mother and her three children from the federal witness protection program about 11 years after her testimony helped secure four murder convictions in a Hells Angels contract killing.

Tina Potts and her children have been living under a new government-issued identity since 2000, after she gave evidence against a Hells Angel and three associates — including Ottawa’s Steve Gareau, who is now serving life in prison for his role in the killing.

The national police force has cut Potts adrift because she agreed to be interviewed in documentary on outlaw bikers that aired on The History Channel earlier this spring.

“As a result of the security breaches … your safety and security has been significantly compromised and the RCMP can no longer be responsible for your and your dependent children’s safety and security as required pursuant to the Witness Protection Program Act,” states a May 4 termination notice signed by RCMP Assistant Commissioner Stephen White, head of federal and international operations.

Potts, who was paid $1,000 plus travel expenses to be interviewed, says she has lost all faith in the Mounties and that she had better protection when she ran with criminals.

“(The RCMP) take you away from your family and friends and tell you everything’s going to be OK and you will be safe. Then after trial, you never hear from them again,” Potts said.

The documentary goes over old ground, but highlights embarrassing details about the RCMP that were reported in the Ottawa Citizen in 2002 — notably that the Mounties were told about the murder plot days before it happened but didn’t try to stop it.

An internal RCMP memo written by an assistant commissioner and obtained by The Ottawa Citizen says the force’s reputation could be “tarnished” if the public found out they were warned about the plot.

Potts’s husband, Paul Derry, alerted the Mounties about the Hells Angels’ murder plot days before it unfolded in the lobby of a Halifax apartment building.

Derry, a longtime RCMP informant, was the getaway driver and his wife, Potts, was in the back seat. Together, they buried the killer’s handgun and burned his clothes following the October 2000 contract killing.

They were both arrested in the plot, but signed a contract giving them money and immunity in exchange for their testimony.

They now live somewhere in Canada, and move frequently to avoid being detected by old enemies who would have little trouble recognizing them in the documentary.

It is against the law in Canada to reveal the new identity or location of someone in the witness protection program.

Derry, 45, and Potts told the Mounties in 2009 that they were going to participate in the documentary. The Mounties didn’t want them to co-operate, and while they said they couldn’t stop them, they made a point of telling them they must, at least, be disguised.

It is grounds for termination if a protected witness reveals their new identity or location, according to witness protection legislation.

To protect their identity, they had a contract with the documentary producers that stated their interviews would be done in “a safe and secure manner respecting the identity constraints in place by my involvement in the witness protection program.”

But in the documentary their voices were not altered and their faces, while blurred, are not shadowed out.

“Anyone who knows us under our new names can easily identify us,” Derry told The Ottawa Citizen.

In fact, an 8-year-old boy recognized them after seeing parts of the documentary.

The Toronto entertainment company based its documentary on Derry’s book Treacherous, and its in-house lawyer who drafted the contract no longer works for them.

A request for comment from the entertainment company was not returned on Friday.

Categories: Broken Force, Failing to do Their Duties, Lack of Resources, Senior Management, Shoddy Investigations.

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