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Justice Patrick Keane livens up day with mafia hypothetical at VLAD High Court hearing

FOR a hearing that was all about bikies, it was odd that it was 40 minutes before anyone mentioned the Hells Angels.

In the High Court yesterday, it was Justice Stephen Gageler who broke through the legalese in the debate over whether the Newman Government’s crackdown on criminal bikie gangs is unconstitutional.

Before a packed courtroom, replete with 18 barristers representing six states and territories and the Commonwealth, it was Justice Patrick Keane who came up with the most memorable quote of the day.

Clearly a fan of The Sopranos, Justice Keane used a hypothetical scenario about mafia bosses who like to eat Italian pastries to question the longer sentences that gang members will face.

“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.” Oft-quoted line from 1972 film “The Godfather” starrin

“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.” Oft-quoted line from 1972 film “The Godfather” starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino.

“If a member of the mafia went into a cake shop to buy some cakes and became enraged with the proprietor and shot him and it has nothing to do with his membership of the mafia, when it comes to sentence, would it not be relevant …. that (he) was a member of the mafia?”

The barrister for Hells Angels member Stefan Kuczborski, Ken Fleming, QC, told Justice Keane any conviction that relied on a determination by government that an organisation was criminal would be “bad”.

Queensland Solicitor-General Peter Dunning, QC, for the State Government, rejected Mr Fleming’s arguments and used the start of a joke you would expect to hear in a pub to illustrate his point about one aspect of the laws.

“If three people walk into a bar,” Mr Dunning said.

“Don’t assign nationalities to them,” Justice Ken Hayne quipped.

United Motorcycle Council of Queensland spokesperson Mick Kosenko outside court.

The United Motorcycle Council of Queensland spokesman and Rebels President Mick Kosenko outside the courts. Picture: Liam Kidston

Outside the courtroom, where there was not a single leather jacket on show, United Motorcycle Council of Queensland spokesman Mick Kosenko was the voice of the bikies.

“The Government is trying to be judge, jury and police,” Mr Kosenko told a media conference.

“I’ve been told these laws ... have been so badly written they will erode our justice system.”