High Court ruling paves way to ban Finks
The High Court has upheld Queensland's criminal association laws, with the decision clearing the way for an application to ban the Gold Coast chapter of the Finks motorcycle club.
Queensland police applied to the Supreme Court to ban the Gold Coast chapter of the Finks motorcycle club last June under the state's Criminal Organisation Act.
But both parties agreed to put the case on hold while the High Court determined whether the laws were valid.
Today, the High Court has ruled Queensland's laws are constitutional.
The High Court had already overturned similar laws in South Australia and New South Wales.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has welcomed the ruling.
"This means that we can wage the fight against criminal outlaw motorcycle gangs - people who deal in drugs, people who deal in prosecution and organised criminal matters," he said.
"These sorts of powers and these laws are essential to take the fight up and protect all Queenslanders."
The lawyer representing the Gold Coast chapter of the Finks, Bill Potts, says the group will continue to argue their case in the courts.
Mr Potts says the court did place conditions on the use of secret intelligence.
"The police are going to have to go back to the drawing board and provide significantly greater detail as to what their case in fact is about," he said.
He says the majority of Finks members have a high regard for the law and will continue to fight for justice.
Mr Potts had argued the laws were unconstitutional because they impose a sanction without a criminal trial.
He also argued court could make its ruling based on secret criminal intelligence kept from those affected.
But the High Court has upheld the validity of those provisions.
The High Court found although the provisions are a departure from usual practice, the court is still able to act fairly and impartially.
The ruling means the Supreme Court can now consider the application to ban the group.
However, Mr Potts says police will have to amend their Supreme Court application seeking to have the Gold Coast chapter of the Finks outlawed.
"While they are able to rely upon secret intelligence, the High Court has said firstly the Supreme Court is able to ensure fairness to the Finks and to any other person who's the subject of this legislation," he said.
"But it requires the police to step out in great detail exactly how the evidence comes about and what their case is."
Who are the Finks?The Finks bikie club was formed in SA in 1969.
Since then chapters have formed across Australia.
It's motto is "Attitude with Violence" and its leader is Mark "Ferret" Moroney.
Members of the club have been linked to drugs, violence and alleged murders.
The Finks name comes from The Wizard of Id cartoon where peasants proclaim "The King is a fink!"
The logo used by the club is of Bung, the king's jester.
To join, riders must own a British or American bike of at least 650ccs, among other conditions.
Women are barred from membership.