The NSW Police officer in charge of a
specialist gang squad that used powers of entry under liquor licensing
laws to raid a charity bike show at Albion Park last year has admitted
he never even spoke to the holder of the liquor licence on the day.
Officers attached to the state's crack
outlaw motorcycle gang squad Strike Force Raptor have been accused in
court of "flagrantly misusing" their police powers during a raid on the
Fourth Reich Motorcycle Club’s annual Custom Bike and Tattoo Show family
open day last October.
Illawarra man Peter Busuttil was
arrested at the event and charged over allegations he forcefully pushed
the squad’s top cop, Detective Inspector Darren Beeche, in the chest as
he tried to enter the club grounds. Busuttil denies the allegations.
Insp Beeche was repeatedly questioned
in Wollongong court on Wednesday about the Strike Force’s purpose for
being at the October 10 event. Each time he insisted police were there
solely to check liquor licensing laws were being complied with.
However, under cross examination from
defence barrister Winston Terracini, SC, Insp Beeche conceded he’d never
spoken to the licensee on the day, nor had he sought to find out who
that person was or asked for any documents to be produced.
He confirmed “a number of individuals were charged” for breaching liquors laws, however was unable to say how many. He also said he didn’t know if the licensee was given a warning about those breaches.
He said the only person he approached
was the Four Reich president – who he agreed had no control over the
“Targetting the liquor act breaches
was just a ruse – you went there to cause trouble,” Mr Terracini said.
“This was a deliberate attempt to
cause problems..to create a tense situation so [police] could abuse
“No,” Insp Beeche replied.
The court also heard allegations that police made threats to members of the public against “consorting” with Fourth Reich members or they would face charges, and even handed out a piece of paper containing photographs of those who should be avoided.
However, Insp Beeche said the papers
were not handed out to member of the public but only to “other members
of the Fourth Reich or other gang members”.