BIKIES have an unlikely ally
in their High Court bid to overturn NSW
legislation banning them from associating -
state Director for Public Prosecutions
Mr Cowdery has
called the legislation, which was rushed
through last year in the wake of a brawl at
Sydney Airport between members of the
Comanchero and Hells Angels bikie gangs in
which a man was killed, ''draconian'' and a
''giant leap backwards for human rights''.
been under siege by police, who are
determined to crack down on violence and
illegal drug trading within gang ranks.
The Sun-Herald revealed police had
applied to have licensees in up to 30 Kings
Cross nightclubs ban entry to bikies or face
stinging attack on the legislation - the
Crimes, Criminal Organisations Control Act -
came last week in an address to a NSW Young
of the burden of proof upon a controlled
person to establish that an association with
another controlled person falls within the
exemptions under the Act - for example,
close family members - is a draconian
measure,'' he said.
reminiscent of reverse onus provisions that
were in place for a time in Northern Ireland
during the 'troubles' where extraordinary
measures were considered appropriate in a
time of general emergency.''
said the legislation was wrongly described
as being against "bikie gangs" and as "gang
laws" as the Act was not confined to "outlaw
motorcycle gangs" - their potential reach
was much broader.
legislation could apply, for instance, to
political parties, labour unions,
professional associations, clubs of all
kinds, religious groups or charities,'' he
It had ''a
number of other troubling features'', such
as not applying to organised groups of
shoplifters or street drug dealers.
said the legislation was rushed through
without consultation with the DPP and with
''insufficient community consultation and
over the deep concerns and protests of the
NSW Bar Association, the NSW Law Society,
academics, the Council for Civil Liberties
and many others.
governments and oppositions may be right
that something more needs to be done about
bikie gangs and criminal groups, especially
when they involve themselves in an organised
manner in drug manufacture and supply and
crimes of violence and firearms offences,
this very troubling legislation is another
giant leap backward for human rights and the
separation of powers - in short, the rule of
law,'' he said.
police investigating a drive-by shooting two
weeks ago on the Ryde home of Armani Stelio,
sister of former Nomads member Sam Ibrahim
and Kings Cross organised crime figure John
Ibrahim, have ruled out any links to a
flare-up of violence between the Comanchero
and Notorious gangs for control of drug and
protection rackets in the Cross.