Police vow to keep chasing bikies, despite courts putting cases on hold due to VLAD review
- Gold Coast Bulletin
- September 29, 2015
Taskforce Maxima Detective Inspector Brendan Smith yesterday said several magistrates had recently delayed cases and prevented the laws from being tested in the courts but he said police would refuse to back down from enforcement.
“We don’t worry about what’s going on that level,” he said.
“We will keep doing our jobs and keep arresting people who break the law.
“There are magistrates who have accepted arguments from defence counsels that the matters should be further adjourned and subject to the review.
“That doesn’t impact on our enforcement or our further investigations.
“If we identify an offence, we will take enforcement action and the government said that very early in their term.
“These laws are on the books and they will be enforced and until such time the laws are changed we will enforce them.”
The comments follow the collapse of another prosecution under the anti-association VLAD laws in the Southport Magistrates Court yesterday.
The laws are being reviewed by the State Government which has already flagged that changes are likely.
Insp Smith said police dropped the case after it failed a “public interest” test.
“Two of the Hells Angels are in custody in Victoria on drug and weapons charges,” he said.
“We wouldn’t go through the trouble of bringing people back to Queensland when they are on serious charges in another state.
“It is quite difficult legislation to work with – it is not as simple as it might seem because there has not been an opportunity to test the laws in the courts yet.”
Kresimir Basic, Darren Haley, Dario Halilovic, Daniel Lovett and Bane Alajbegovic were all charged in January last year under the new laws, which made it an offence for more than two outlaw bikies to appear in public together.
The men, three of whom deny any bikie links, had travelled to the Gold Coast on holidays and claimed they were arrested while on their way to buy ice-cream.
Yesterday, on the morning of their trial, the prosecution offered no evidence against the men and the charges were dismissed.
Bill Potts, director of Potts Lawyers, said the failed prosecution showed the laws were ineffective and impossible to sustain.
“These defendants, who came to Queensland for the purposes of a holiday – their only sin, their only crime was to buy an ice cream in a public place,” he said.
“There was no crime, there was no planned crime – all these people were doing was walking down a street.”
Mr Potts said his clients were “extremely annoyed” and had spent three weeks in custody, some of that in solitary confinement and said they would consider whether to take civil action.
“The reality is these people have been arrested,
spent time in custody for an offence which is both unprovable and
unproved,” he said.
“They have their civil rights and no doubt they’ll be considering that today.”
He said he thought the case would be relevant to the taskforce reviewing the VLAD legislation.
“I would have thought Justice Wilson, who is heading that particular taskforce, would look very closely at this prosecution and all the other failed prosecutions.”