Cops appeal ’bikie’ case
f me, do they like wasting taxpayers money or what?
THREE alleged Rebel bikies members who won a legal battle to have court proceedings against them abandoned could again face charges, with police arguing they have strong evidence against the trio.
Lawyers for Jason Michael Heang, Dominic Michael Muhling and Kiel Vaughan Collins appeared in the Court of Appeal in Townsville yesterday to fight an appeal launched by Queensland Police Service.
The men were accused of secretly meeting in a gym at Deeragun in December 2013, in breach of the former Newman government’s Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment legislation.
In September last year, Magistrate Ross Mack granted an application to abandon proceedings against the men permanently, saying they could not get a fair trial. This followed a court bungle where Detective Sergeant Brendan Stevenson attended a Crime and Corruption Commission to hear testimony from the trio, voiding the men’s right to silence.
But in a hearing in Townsville’s Court of Appeal barrister Michael Nicolson, representing the Queensland Police Service, argued the men did have a case to answer.
“Ultimately, Stevenson was lawfully present … and there was no information obtained from the examination at the commission that was used as evidence in the current prosecution,” Mr Nicolson said.
“Therefore there was no actual unfairness and or prejudice in the present case.”
Heang, Muhling and Collins are facing a mandatory six- month stint in jail if convicted of knowingly gathering in groups of three or more members in a public place.
Senior counsel Peter Callaghan said there was no proof his client Muhling and the other accused were meeting in a public place, nor that they were directly associated or knew details of each other’s associations with the Rebels.
He also said Mr Mack made no error in determining the men would not receive a fair trial, arguing Sgt Stevenson’s appearance at the examination meant prejudice was unavoidable.
“The prosecution’s case is doomed to fail,” Mr Callaghan said. “(A gym) can’t be a public place just because a member of the public, who becomes a member can get in there.”
Judge John Blauch SC said due to the complexity of the case, he couldn’t indicate when a decision would be handed down.