Australasian biker news

Home Rides  Events Tech Links

CCC bungle freed bikie charge trio

  • THE Crime and Corruption Commission is at the centre of a bungled court case involving three alleged Townsville Rebels bikie club members.

    Court proceedings against Michael Heang, Dominic Michael Muhling and Kiel Vaughan Collins were permanently put on hold last week after it was ruled they would never be able to have a fair trial.

    Court documents show their right to silence was voided when the CCC asked investigating officer Detective Sergeant Brendan Stevenson to help counsel at a compulsory hearing.

    Magistrate Ross Mack said in his published decision that regardless of whether Sgt Stevenson heard information that helped the investigation at the hearing or not, the judicial process was now so flawed it couldn’t be corrected.

    “If the Crime and Corruption Commission seeks to obtain information from defendants prior to their trial or hearing, surely they should not involve the officer responsible for their arrest in the criminal matter,” he said.

    “I accept the fact that Det Stevenson did not attend at the compulsory examination with a view to obtaining further evidence.

    “But the fact that he did attend and engaged in the process gives rise to an unavoidable impression that the assertion of the applicant’s right to silence has been overridden and fundamentally changes the nature of the criminal hearing from their perspective.”

    The trio were arrested on January 16, 2014, and charged with being a participant in a criminal organisation being knowingly present in public places with two or more people who were participants in a criminal organisation.

    They refused to take part in a recorded police interview, exercising their right to silence.

    Mr Mack granted the application to stay proceedings in Townsville Magistrates Court on September 30.

    He granted the application on the basis of unfairness to the defendants because the men would never be able to have a fair trial.

    “Det-Sgt Stevenson’s involvement in the compulsory hearing so altered the nature of the trial, including the pre-trial inquiries and investigation that it would be unfair to the applicants to allow the hearing to continue,” he said.

    Mr Heang, Mr Muhling and Mr Collins were charged under the former Newman Government’s controversial anti-bikie laws.

    Police alleged at the time that the trio were meeting in secret at a gym in Deeragun to try to fly under the radar of authorities.

    The men’s lawyers argued in a trial earlier this year that they had no case to answer.

    Mr Mack, who also presided over the trial, ruled they did have a case to answer before an appeal was lodged and discontinued.

    Subsequently the application to stay proceedings was lodged.

    The Crime and Corruption Commission refused to comment.



  • BACK