Saskatoon police informant says he was 'subject to psychological torture' while in Witness Protection Program

A police informant whose collaboration with Saskatoon city police allowed investigators to undertake a massive operation targeting gang and organized crime is suing the federal government.

Noel Harder’s lawsuit alleges the RCMP caused him and his family emotional, psychological and financial distress while they were in the federal Witness Protection Program (WPP).

Harder was a member of the Fallen Saints Motorcycle Club and was under police surveillance when officers pulled him over in 2014 and found guns in his truck. He made a deal: in exchange for avoiding criminal charges, he would work with police as a confidential informant on Project Forseti.

Noel Harder

The operation wrapped up in January 2015 and resulted in the seizure of firearms and more than $8 million worth of drugs. Charges were laid against about 20 people, many from the Hells Angels and Fallen Saints motorcycles clubs. Final criminal court proceedings are expected to wrap up this year.
After the bust, Harder was moved out of the province and placed in the WPP with his wife and two young children. According to a statement of claim filed Monday in Regina Court of Queen’s Bench, they lost their home and belongings, were not given new identities, were not given money they believed they were owed and were “subject to psychological torture” while part of the WPP.

Statements of claim contain allegations that have not been proven in Court.
The lawsuit alleges that if the family raised concerns about their treatment in the program, they were told they would be expelled from the WPP, “which meant a death sentence for them.”

Harder and his family were booted from the WPP after an incident in November 2017 when Harder was “present in an establishment when there were approximately 100 Hells Angels and Associates,” the statement of claim says.
“The Plaintiffs are in a much worse state than when they entered WPP, financially, psychologically and emotionally,” it argues.
“The program has totally and entirely failed the Plaintiffs and the infant children.”¨


Tony Merchant, Harder’s lawyer, said Harder and his family are currently on the run and he doesn’t know where they are. Even though Harder is no longer in the WPP, he can only contact Harder through an RCMP handler, Merchant said.

He would not give any additional information about the November 2017 incident that resulted in Harder’s expulsion from the WPP, but said he believed RCMP wanted Harder out of the program so they would not have to take responsibility if something happened to him.

Harder’s claim seeks compensation for psychological damages and distress and loss of his home, belongings and businesses, plus exemplary and punitive damages.
“The exemplary and punitive damages that should be awarded by this Honourable Court should be very large taking into account that Harder assisted in Project Forseti (which) resulted in convictions and federal penitentiary time for some of Saskatchewan’s worst drug and firearms criminals,” the statement of claim reads.

No one from the RCMP was available for comment on Monday.

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