New Boys boss now target of anti-bikie laws
From: Sunday Mail (SA)
October 24, 2010 12:00AM
POLICE are on the brink of using controversial anti-bikie legislation against the New Boys street gang.
Sources have revealed police are in the final stages of preparing an application to have the gang "declared" a criminal organisation under new organised crime legislation - even though it is still in limbo awaiting a High Court judgment on its validity.
The move comes as police continue a major operation aimed at curtailing the escalating bloody gang war between the New Boys and elements of the Hells Angels.
Dubbed Operation Suppress, it has resulted in the arrest of more than 55 gang members since February for offences ranging from attempted murder, drug trafficking and serious assault. Police have also seized 8400 street deals of amphetamines and ecstasy.
The latest incident in the long-running dispute was the attempted assassination of New Boys leader Vince Focarelli in a crowded Sefton Park supermarket on September 23 by a Hells Angels member.
Since early 2008 there have been more than two dozen major incidents including drive-by shootings, stabbings, serious assaults and a failed car bombing - also aimed at Focarelli - that claimed the lives of a Hells Angels member and an associate.
Senior police yesterday would not discuss the looming New Boys application, but sources have revealed it is not likely be forwarded to Attorney-General John Rau until after the High Court judgment determining the future structure of the controversial legislation is made.
Detective Superintendent Doug Barr, the officer-in-charge of the State Intelligence Branch, yesterday said no further applications seeking declarations had yet been forwarded to the government.
"SAPOL is constantly monitoring the activity of both motorcycle and street gangs to determine if their actions or activities warrant an application to the government for a Declaration under the Serious Organised Crime Control Act," he said.
Once a gang has been declared under the SOCCA, its members can be subject to a control order which prevents them from associating with designated persons or frequenting nominated locations. Breaches carry penalties of up to five years' jail.
However, the legislation has been stalled since late last year when the State Government launched a High Court appeal after the Full Court of the Supreme Court last September rejected a key component.
The Full Court ruled that Section 14.1 of the SOCCA legislation was invalid following an appeal by two Finks members who had been subjected to control orders.
Under that section, which states a magistrate must grant a control order sought by the police commissioner, the subject is not given the opportunity to appear when the order is granted and is not allowed to know the content of an intelligence file used in the process.
The Full Court ruling meant control orders already obtained by police against eight Finks members were invalid. The Finks was the first gang to be declared under the SOCCA legislation in April last year.
Police applied to have the Rebels motorcycle gang declared in December last year, but Mr Rau will not make a decision on that application until after the High Court decision on the Finks ruling has been handed down, possibly late next month.