Qld bikie trio escape with fines


A library assistant and two motorcycle gang members have avoided jail and instead been handed minor fines after they were arrested for meeting at a Queensland pub.

Sally Kuether was fined $150, her boyfriend Phillip Frederick Palmer was ordered to pay $500, and their friend Ronald Anton Germain was fined $300 for breaching anti-bikie laws introduced by the former state government.

The legislation, introduced in October 2013, prohibits three or more members of an outlaw motorcycle gang gathering in public.

The offence carries a minimum of six months and a maximum of three years jail.

The laws also ban the wearing of gang colours and patches in licensed venues, with a maximum fine of more than $37,500.

The trio were each wearing clothing bearing the label of the Life and Death motorcycle gang when they met at the Dayboro Tavern in December 2013.

Brisbane Magistrate John McGrath imposed minor fines after police dropped the more serious charges of knowingly participating in a criminal organisation in public.

Kuether and Palmer embraced after the sentence was handed down, while Germain told reporters outside court that justice had been served.

The court was told the trio were unaware of the details of the new laws when they met in the pub after a motorcycle ride on the morning of December 19, 2013.

After their arrests, Kuether, 41, and Germain, 62, spent six days in the watch house and 55-year-old Palmer spent a fortnight.

Kuether, a single mother of three, had no criminal record and was a library assistant who had worked for Brisbane City Council for 20 years, defence lawyer Angus Edwards said.

The court heard Germain was an ex-army officer whose only criminal history was a 1986 drink-driving offence, while Palmer was a disability pensioner due to mental health issues.

Each of their lawyers said the trio had suffered distress, and in Kuether's case workplace discrimination, as a result of the charges.

"My client did not set out to break the law that day," said Andrew Hoare, Palmer's barrister.

"He was doing what he enjoyed doing, which was going for a ride."

Germain also pleaded guilty to possessing a flick knife while Palmer admitted to possessing cannabis and pipes, and to keeping a carpet python without a licence.

Outside court, Palmer called on the state government to repeal the anti-bikie laws, via a statement read by his lawyer.

"As citizens of Queensland, we should be allowed to go out in public with friends and family without fear of arrest by police," said the statement, read by lawyer Debbie Kilroy.

AAP 2015

Read more at http://www.9news.com.au/national/2015/04/08/10/37/charges-dropped-over-qld-bikie-pub-meeting#7M8wqxxJWzmyjUAG.99