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Queensland laws on bikie gangs and sex offenders will fail: Tony Fitzgerald

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THE man who presided over Queensland's historic corruption inquiry has launched a scathing attack on the Newman government's bikie and sex offender laws.

Tony Fitzgerald QC has warned Queenslanders not to be duped by laws he views as dangerous.

This month, the government gave itself the power to bypass the courts and keep some sex offenders in jail indefinitely.

Parliament also passed new laws that mean judges must now impose two sentences on criminal bikie gang members who commit a serious crime - one for the crime itself and another for being part of a declared criminal gang.

Mr Fitzgerald says Queenslanders should understand the gravity of the laws, which he warns are likely to fail.

New laws will fail, Fitzgerald says
 

"History teaches us that claims that repressive laws will reduce serious crime are usually hollow and that laws which erode individual freedom and expand a state's power over its citizens are fraught with peril," he writes in an opinion piece in The Courier-Mail.

He says parliament could chose to enact any law.

But parliamentarians "don't have a 'mandate' to give effect to prejudices and ill-informed opinions, ignore ethics and conventions or attack fundamental values such as personal freedom or essential institutions such as the judiciary".

Mr Fitzgerald says both sets of laws are populist and suggests they exploit the fears of less-educated Queenslanders.

He cites Wikipedia's definition for a demagogue, saying it provides an uncomfortable insight into modern politics.

"A demagogue ... is a political leader in a democracy who appeals to the emotions, fears, prejudices, and ignorance of the less-educated citizens in order to gain power and promote political motives."

Mr Fitzgerald is also scathing about how the government has handled concern about its laws.

Last week, Premier Campbell Newman called critics of the sex offender laws "apologists" for pedophiles.

"It is extremely arrogant and socially destructive for politicians to slander citizens who disagree with their 'political solution' or to denigrate the judicial branch of government and its generally conservative judges, who must make sometimes unpopular decisions in accordance with the law and available evidence and their oath of office," Mr Fitzgerald writes.

"And it is incomprehensible that any rational Queenslander who is even remotely aware of the state's recent history could for a moment consider reintroducing political interference into the administration of criminal justice, even to the point of making decisions about incarceration."

Mr Fitzgerald said he wrote the piece as a private citizen who was not aligned with any political party.

"I am a private citizen who has noticed that more problems are solved by thoughtful discussion than political grandstanding and personal abuse," he said.

The premier's office declined to directly address Mr Fitzgerald's criticisms today.

A spokesman for Mr Newman said the government was simply delivering on its plan to make Queensland safe.

- See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/queensland-laws-on-bikie-gangs-and-sex-offenders-will-fail-tony-fitzgerald/story-e6frgczx-1226748089355#sthash.sNKVnMFQ.dpuf

Queensland laws on bikie gangs and sex offenders will fail: Tony Fitzgerald

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To get going, simply connect with your favourite social network:

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THE man who presided over Queensland's historic corruption inquiry has launched a scathing attack on the Newman government's bikie and sex offender laws.

Tony Fitzgerald QC has warned Queenslanders not to be duped by laws he views as dangerous.

This month, the government gave itself the power to bypass the courts and keep some sex offenders in jail indefinitely.

Parliament also passed new laws that mean judges must now impose two sentences on criminal bikie gang members who commit a serious crime - one for the crime itself and another for being part of a declared criminal gang.

Mr Fitzgerald says Queenslanders should understand the gravity of the laws, which he warns are likely to fail.

New laws will fail, Fitzgerald says
 

"History teaches us that claims that repressive laws will reduce serious crime are usually hollow and that laws which erode individual freedom and expand a state's power over its citizens are fraught with peril," he writes in an opinion piece in The Courier-Mail.

He says parliament could chose to enact any law.

But parliamentarians "don't have a 'mandate' to give effect to prejudices and ill-informed opinions, ignore ethics and conventions or attack fundamental values such as personal freedom or essential institutions such as the judiciary".

Mr Fitzgerald says both sets of laws are populist and suggests they exploit the fears of less-educated Queenslanders.

He cites Wikipedia's definition for a demagogue, saying it provides an uncomfortable insight into modern politics.

"A demagogue ... is a political leader in a democracy who appeals to the emotions, fears, prejudices, and ignorance of the less-educated citizens in order to gain power and promote political motives."

Mr Fitzgerald is also scathing about how the government has handled concern about its laws.

Last week, Premier Campbell Newman called critics of the sex offender laws "apologists" for pedophiles.

"It is extremely arrogant and socially destructive for politicians to slander citizens who disagree with their 'political solution' or to denigrate the judicial branch of government and its generally conservative judges, who must make sometimes unpopular decisions in accordance with the law and available evidence and their oath of office," Mr Fitzgerald writes.

"And it is incomprehensible that any rational Queenslander who is even remotely aware of the state's recent history could for a moment consider reintroducing political interference into the administration of criminal justice, even to the point of making decisions about incarceration."

Mr Fitzgerald said he wrote the piece as a private citizen who was not aligned with any political party.

"I am a private citizen who has noticed that more problems are solved by thoughtful discussion than political grandstanding and personal abuse," he said.

The premier's office declined to directly address Mr Fitzgerald's criticisms today.

A spokesman for Mr Newman said the government was simply delivering on its plan to make Queensland safe.

- See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/queensland-laws-on-bikie-gangs-and-sex-offenders-will-fail-tony-fitzgerald/story-e6frgczx-1226748089355#sthash.sNKVnMFQ.dpuf

Queensland laws on bikie gangs and sex offenders will fail: Tony Fitzgerald

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Hi D Discover news with your friends. Give it a try.
To get going, simply connect with your favourite social network:

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THE man who presided over Queensland's historic corruption inquiry has launched a scathing attack on the Newman government's bikie and sex offender laws.

Tony Fitzgerald QC has warned Queenslanders not to be duped by laws he views as dangerous.

This month, the government gave itself the power to bypass the courts and keep some sex offenders in jail indefinitely.

Parliament also passed new laws that mean judges must now impose two sentences on criminal bikie gang members who commit a serious crime - one for the crime itself and another for being part of a declared criminal gang.

Mr Fitzgerald says Queenslanders should understand the gravity of the laws, which he warns are likely to fail.

New laws will fail, Fitzgerald says
 

"History teaches us that claims that repressive laws will reduce serious crime are usually hollow and that laws which erode individual freedom and expand a state's power over its citizens are fraught with peril," he writes in an opinion piece in The Courier-Mail.

He says parliament could chose to enact any law.

But parliamentarians "don't have a 'mandate' to give effect to prejudices and ill-informed opinions, ignore ethics and conventions or attack fundamental values such as personal freedom or essential institutions such as the judiciary".

Mr Fitzgerald says both sets of laws are populist and suggests they exploit the fears of less-educated Queenslanders.

He cites Wikipedia's definition for a demagogue, saying it provides an uncomfortable insight into modern politics.

"A demagogue ... is a political leader in a democracy who appeals to the emotions, fears, prejudices, and ignorance of the less-educated citizens in order to gain power and promote political motives."

Mr Fitzgerald is also scathing about how the government has handled concern about its laws.

Last week, Premier Campbell Newman called critics of the sex offender laws "apologists" for pedophiles.

"It is extremely arrogant and socially destructive for politicians to slander citizens who disagree with their 'political solution' or to denigrate the judicial branch of government and its generally conservative judges, who must make sometimes unpopular decisions in accordance with the law and available evidence and their oath of office," Mr Fitzgerald writes.

"And it is incomprehensible that any rational Queenslander who is even remotely aware of the state's recent history could for a moment consider reintroducing political interference into the administration of criminal justice, even to the point of making decisions about incarceration."

Mr Fitzgerald said he wrote the piece as a private citizen who was not aligned with any political party.

"I am a private citizen who has noticed that more problems are solved by thoughtful discussion than political grandstanding and personal abuse," he said.

The premier's office declined to directly address Mr Fitzgerald's criticisms today.

A spokesman for Mr Newman said the government was simply delivering on its plan to make Queensland safe.

- See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/queensland-laws-on-bikie-gangs-and-sex-offenders-will-fail-tony-fitzgerald/story-e6frgczx-1226748089355#sthash.sNKVnMFQ.dpuf

Bail adjourned for Qld bikies

AAP Updated November 29, 2013, 7:09 pm
 
Bail applications for two bikies charged under Queensland s new bikie laws have been adjourned.

AAP Bail applications for two bikies charged under Queensland's new bikie laws have been adjourned.

 

Two of the first alleged outlaw bikie gang members charged under Queensland's anti-association laws have had their bail applications adjourned.

Leslie Markham and James Cleave were arrested this month along with associate Bradley Baker in the foyer of luxury Gold Coast hotel Palazzo Versace.

They were the first charged under strict new laws that ban three or more members of declared criminal organisations from gathering in public.

The trio was charged with being participants in a criminal organisation while being knowingly present in a public place.

Barrister Craig Eberhardt, representing Markham, asked for the case to be adjourned until December 6, which was agreed to by magistrate Ray Rinaudo.

A heavily tattooed Markham asked to appear via video link next time, and mouthed "I love you" to a friend before leaving the dock.

The matter of Cleave was adjourned until Monday afternoon.

Mr Eberhardt argued that Cleave was no longer a member of the Finks bikie gang and refused to "patch over" to the Mongols.

He is facing between a mandatory minimum six months to three years' jail if he is found guilty of the offence.

A trial could not be heard until at least February.

"It cannot sensibly be said that detaining someone for six months to prevent a repetition of that type of offence, or the risk of that type of offence, could be justified in a modern, civilised society," Mr Eberhardt said.

"There is no suggestion of criminal conduct or frightening or threatening behaviours.

"No one was hurt, threatened, it is purely a technical offence. This sounds a little bit like witch dunking."

The defence argued for Cleave to be released on bail, with a nightly curfew and random drug tests.

The court heard Cleave had been under surveillance for an 18-month period, and during that time he had been charged for driving under the influence of methylamphetamine.

Crown prosecutor Sarah Farnden said police believed he was a proud Finks member, had always been a Finks and would always be a Finks.

"There are numerous people he had association with who are known members of gangs," she told the court.

"The fact that three members of a criminal organisation are together has been legislated as being an offence in recognition that it is considered to be intimidatory to the public.

"It is a strong Crown case."

Under the Queensland government's anti-bikie legislation, motorcycle gang members are automatically refused bail unless they can prove they should be released.

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