Finks front court over CCC contempt charges
November 25, 2010 - 12:15PM
Finks members leaving the Supreme Court today.
A phalanx of Finks motorcycle gang members and their colleagues descended on the Supreme Court today to face contempt charges laid by the state's criminal watchdog, stemming from an investigation into a vicious brawl at the Perth Motorplex.
The clash occurred with rival gang the Coffin Cheaters at a Harley Davidson drag races event on October 3.
It triggered a police operation, code-named Tri-Star, which forced a crackdown on the clubs, including raids throughout the state on the homes and clubhouses of each gang.
As part of the operation the Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan applied to the Corruption and Crime Commission, under its new expanded powers, to bring those involved before the CCC in secret to answer questions about the brawl.
Six Fink members, nominees and associates were called before the Commission, however none co-operated, according to the CCC.
A seventh gang member was also charged with hindering the Commission and he will face Perth Magistrates Court tomorrow.
Senior Fink Stephen Wallace, Tristan Allbeury, Stephen Silvestro, Neil McCormick and Troy Smith all fronted the Supreme Court today after being summonsed on 40 allegations of contempt, ranging from refusing to be sworn in to give evidence to insulting Commissioner Len Roberts-Smith, QC.
Bikie associate Clovis Chikonga was also charged with refusing to be sworn in, however he was never served with the summons. He has since disappeared after failing to attend the District Court on Monday for weapons charges.
Bench warrants for his arrest have now been issued by the District and Supreme courts.
Wallace, Allbeury and Smith allegedly refused to answer Mr Roberts-Smith's questions about the brawl, in which three of Wallace's fingers were severed, fellow gang member David Marrapodi was shot to the leg and Silvestro suffered a serious head wound.
McCormick and Silvestro refused to even be sworn in, according to the charges.
The Chief Justice Wayne Martin agreed to have the contempt charges put to a hearing quickly, saying it was necessary to be dealt with "expeditiously given there is an investigation currently underway".
He said it may encourage those accused, if found guilty of contempt, to change their minds over whether to co-operate with authorities.
CCC prosecutor Darren Renton applied to have the men remanded in custody on the basis of the strength of the case and the seriousness of the crimes.
But Chief Justice Martin dismissed the application, saying: "Their presence here today shows a propensity to attend... they're not likely to abscond the jurisdiction.
"...They are entitled the presumption of innocence."
The men, who are being represented by Laurie Levy, will go to a trial hearing next Wednesday.
The Motorplex brawl came about amid long-standing tensions between the Finks and the Coffin Cheaters, which are understood to have stemmed from high-profile bikie Troy Mercanti being ousted from the Cheaters and joining the Finks in 2008.
The Coffin Cheaters were held responsible for the clash after CCTV vision showed up to 20 gang members from both clubs enter the premises.
The vicious fight occurred in the pits where motorcycles were being prepared for the races and was out of CCTV range.
Witnesses however saw the injured Finks leaving the premises to be taken to separate hospitals for treatment. A number of Coffin Cheaters also ended up at hospital later in the day.
Although police have failed to find the gun used in brawl despite numerous raids across the state, seven gang members have since been charged with weapons and drug offences.
Police say that Tri-Star is a long-term operation that will keep up pressure on all the gangs to prevent an all-out war breaking out.