Man jailed for firing shotgun confronting Finks bikie
gang members needs protection in prison
November 8, 2015
One might easily have a "death wish" angrily confronting
a gang of fearsome Finks bikie gang members in mourning at a wake and
then blasting two rounds from a sawn-off shotgun as they surround you.
Despite the potential danger to his own life and theirs – let alone
innocents in a crowded suburban Oakleigh street of cafes, restaurants
and shops – that is precisely what Mario Salatas did in broad daylight
in apparent defence of his kid brother.
Melbourne's County Court heard that Salatas "poked a hornets' nest" when
he confronted members of the Finks and their affiliates after walking
from his car mid-afternoon near the Vanilla Cafe.
And now, despite no suggestion or evidence Salatas "fingered" any Finks
to police and turned "dog", he is a marked man in prison from bikie
inmates who have forced authorities to move him to protection.
When Judge Michael Tinney sentenced Salatas over his "show of force"
with a "sinister" weapon, he commented that the "community is sick of
guns", their illegal use and possession, and that courts would show "no
tolerance to the carrying or possession of such firearms in our
Judge Tinney said he needed no convincing the Finks were not "some
playful group of tricksters drawn by innocence" to have fun with
motorbikes. "They are an outlaw motorcycle gang," he noted flatly.
Prosecutor Matt Fisher described how Salatas exited a car mid-afternoon
near the Vanilla Cafe and spoke to some bikies in an "agitated manner",
asked "Where is my f---ing little brother?" and stated that "I'm a
Mr Fisher said Salatas was then followed to his car by a number of
bikies who surrounded the vehicle and appeared aggressive to him and
others who included his female partner.
Joined by his brother, their sister and her boyfriend, a "heated verbal
exchange" began between the groups before Salatas took the shotgun from
the car and fired once in the air, damaging a shop awning.
Mr Fisher said moments later Salatas fired a second round towards the
ground, which startled some people in the area but "did not cause the
bikies near the vehicle to move away".
He categorised the conduct as "brazen and calculated" and "given the
company he was in he may have had a death wish acting in the way he
Salatas, 33, of Notting Hill, earlier pleaded guilty to being prohibited
person who used a firearm on July 9, 2013.
His barrister Adam Chernok told Judge Tinney his client became involved
in the incident after an earlier "schoolyard disagreement" between his
brother and a student who later became a Finks member.
Mr Chernok conceded that "some form of vigilantism" was involved, poor
decision-making and a misguided expression of loyalty, but Salatas had
"enraged some hornets" while police suspect the Finks later
A psychologist reported Salatas had a poly-substance disorder and mixed
anxiety-depressive disorder and was prone to impulsive and irresponsible
Declared a prohibited person in 2009 after committing firearms and
weapons offences, Judge Tinney noted Salatas, a father of two, and his
brother could and should have left the area, but instead his conduct was
like a "warning off or a show of force".
There was a "big difference" between using and possessing a weapon, and
he told Salatas that "you were using a loaded, fully operational
sawn-down shotgun that you loaded and discharged twice".
Salatas was jailed for two years and four months and was ordered to
serve a minimum of 14 months.