Australasian biker news

Home Bike News Rides  Events Tech Links

Items seized from alleged clubhouse after two granted bail in Cairns



Raids on clubhouses

WARRANT: Cairns Detectives execute a search warrant at the club house. Pic: TOM LEE Source: CairnsPost

A CAIRNS man yesterday was among the first people to be charged under Queensland's new anti-bikie laws just hours after asking police if living next to his organisation's clubhouse could land him in trouble.

Peter Johnson and fellow Odin's Warriors member Mark Filtness, both 47, were both granted bail in the Cairns Magistrates Court yesterday after becoming the first two people in the state to be charged under the legislation.

The court heard Mr Johnson was arrested on the clubhouse driveway shortly after he had returned from asking police if the new laws made it illegal for him to be living at a residential property near the clubhouse.

Their defence lawyer Philip Bovey, who successfully argued for their immediate release from custody, slammed the new laws outside court.

Mr Bovey labelled the laws "outrageous" and accused police of "wasting their time" with the arrests.

Detectives swarmed on the Spence St club late yesterday, removing various items including club paraphernalia and a large mounted crocodile head. (read :stole stuff)

"The legislation is outrageous, it's draconian and this is an example of what happens when you give police discretionary powers," Mr Bovey said outside court.

"They sought to have (these men) remanded in custody for potentially months because of a vague association with a motorcycle clubhouse.

"You see lots of Cairns police wasting their time chasing what are obviously law abiding citizens. (My clients) feel outraged. It's like shooting a duck in water."

Magistrate Trevor Black admitted in court he was still not fully across the new legislation which was passed through Queensland parliament about 3am Thursday.

"I just downloaded something off the internet to try to catch up with this legislation," Mr Black said.

The court heard the pair both live in apartments on the same block of land, but next door to the clubhouse itself, and had been members of the motorcycle club for about 20 years each.

Mr Bovey told the court Mr Johnson used the unit as a base, but worked full-time as a diesel fitter for Rio Tinto in Weipa, while Mr Filtness was a full-time truck driver for his own company, which contracted to a business at Tolga.

"(Mr Johnson) has better traffic history than I have," Mr Bovey told the court.

"A lot of effort has been spent by QPS arresting two men with little or no history.

"They are in a position where if they are convicted, it is a mandatory six-month custodial sentence. One has zero criminal history, one has little criminal history."

Speaking in court, prosecutor Paul McGilvray disagreed with Mr Bovey's assertion that the premises were divided and said he objected to bail on the grounds that the men were a flight risk because they could obtain financial resources from the Odin's Warriors to enable them to flee.

"Both defendants were found in a prescribed place," he said.

But Mr Black was not convinced the men were a flight risk or any risk to the community.

"With respect, you might think you have a case, I might have a different view," he told Mr McGilvray.

It is believed the Odin's Warriors have a fairly small presence in Cairns with a membership less than 10.

The pair were both charged with being a participant in a criminal organisation entering a prescribed place and were granted bail under the proviso they surrender their passports.

Mr Johnson's passport was at his apartment, which was inaccessible as police had declared it a crime scene, forcing officers to get it for him before he could be released.

The men are scheduled for mention in the Cairns Magistrates Court on November 1.