Electronic bail for gang members
Five members of the Red Devil motorcycle gang have been granted electronic bail, with the judge allowing them three hours outside their house each day to take stress off their families.
The public gallery was full of female supporters and partners of the men in the Nelson District Court yesterday who gasped and wept with joy when Judge Mike Behrens granted the men electronic bail. A security guard passed the women tissues.
Thomas Joseph Bashford, 51, of Motueka; Mark James Lee, 57 of Nelson; Roger Paul Patrick, 50, of Nelson, Russell Phillip Lloyd, 54 and Damian John Stacey, 33, of Brightwater, were yesterday granted electronic bail.
Lloyd and Stacey were in Nelson and allowed out on electronic bail yesterday, but the other three remained in Christchurch and will be freed on electronic bail on Monday.
Colin Chinnock, 52, an apiarist, of Ngatimoti was granted bail by Judge Behrens on Thursday.
The men have been in custody since their arrest in March following a high-profile police raid called Operation Explorer on their Natalie St, Nelson headquarters.
Police arrested 37 people in Operation Explorer and seized 800 items, including 13 motorbikes, 16 firearms and two pipe bombs in the operation after searching several properties in the region.
The arrests were the result of an 18-month police operation, which used electronic surveillance and undercover police officers.
The Red Devils are said to be a puppet gang of the international motorcycle gang the Hells Angels.
Some of the men yesterday granted bail had previously been denied bail in the Nelson District Court, a decision which was upheld on appeal in the High Court.
Judge Behrens said he believed he could grant electronic bail yesterday as he had different information to the other judges who had refused the men bail.
Judge Behrens said any trial for the men could be 12 or 18 months away and that electronic bail for that time was like a sentence of home detention.
"I'm aware that people on home detention face stresses which can affect and hurt their families."
Judge Behrens said he would give each man a window of three hours each day where they could get out.
He said in particular in families where there had been previous domestic disputes it put extra pressure on families, which could possibly result in more offending by the men.
He set strict conditions on their bail including non-association orders and the men were also required to surrender their passports if they had them.
Speaking outside court, police prosecutor Sergeant Chris Stringer said the three hours each man was allowed into the community would be staggered so they could not meet up.
The men have been charged with various offences including participating in a criminal gang.
Patrick has been charged with a number of offences including drug charges, assault with intent to injure and robbery.
Bashford faces drug charges including offering and conspiring to supply methamphetamine.
Lee faces drug charges, including offering to supply methamphetamine.
Lloyd faces charges involving drugs, receiving and conspiring to injure.
Stacey faces drugs charges, unlawfully possessing a firearm and burglary charges.
Chinook faces drug charges including conspiring to deal the drug pscilocine and unlawfully possessing a firearm