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Bikie gang members found guilty


TWO men associated with the North Coast chapter of the Rebels bikie gang are facing a long prison sentence after being found guilty on several counts following a string of incidents in December 2008.

Tony Steven Garven, 44 of Coffs Harbour was a sergeant-at-arms for the gang and Robert George Schilter, 52, could possibly spend the rest of their lives in prison for offences including the kidnapping and brutal assault of a 16-year-old youth after being found guilty at Sydney's District Court on Tuesday.

Police investigators from Coffs Harbour proved that the pair committed the crimes that arose from a minor motor vehicle accident on the Pacific Highway in Coffs Harbour on December 22 at 10.30pm.

Not long after the accident Garven and Schilter went to a Park Beach unit and assaulted a 16-year-old at the residence before placing him in a car and driving him to Mt Browne Road at Karangi.

At this point a shot gun was produced and the youth was threatened and robbed of his wallet and mobile phone and ordered to strip naked.

Coffs/Clarence investigations manager Detective Senior Sergeant Peter O'Reilly was thrilled with the guilty verdicts.

He added that the verdicts were a great result after the countless hours of investigation by Strikeforce Ermelo that involved more than 25 police officers from Coffs Harbour over the past three years.

"We applaud the various victims and witnesses that came along to give evidence against these people," Detective Senior Sergeant O'Reilly said.

"Despite what they try to portray, these outlaw motorcycle gangs are not nice people and this is just evidence of that.

"There was various forms of intimidation placed upon a lot of people and people were very anxious but to their credit everyone stuck with it to get a verdict almost three years to the day."

Sentencing is due to take place on March 2 at the Downing Centre.

Garven has been remanded until then while the bail for Schilter was allowed to continue.

The charge of aggravated detain to advantage charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years while the special aggravated robbery with a firearm charge that Mr Garven was found guilty of also carries a maximum sentence of 25 years.

Judge Gregory Woods can enforce a seven-year sentence for the assault occasioning actual bodily harm charges while anything up to 10 years can be handed down for the charge of demand money with menace.

Senior Sergeant O'Reilly added that the local police force is always working to ensure the criminal element on the Coffs Coast is brought to justice.

"It's just a reminder to the people from outlaw motorcycle gangs and that sort of thing that if you want to engage in that sort of behaviour, we'll investigate it and we'll do everything we can to get these sort of results," he said.

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