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Feds back move to outlaw Finks

Robyn Wuth   |  06:30am November 30, 2012



THE Federal Government has thrown its weight behind a Queensland Government bid to have the Finks outlaw motorcycle gang declared a criminal organisation.

The move comes as outlaw bikies strengthen their stranglehold on the Gold Coast, with the opening of a Hells Angels' clubhouse at Burleigh Heads expected within days.

Police have stepped up patrols in the area and warned of increased tension between the Finks and Hells Angels.

"The new clubhouse in Burleigh realistically has got to be considered a prime target," senior police have warned. "No one wants the Hells Angels on the Gold Coast."

The Finks have been hamstrung to stop the Hells Angels push into the city, with the club launching a landmark challenge to prevent the Gold Coast chapter and an associated company being declared criminal organisations under Queensland's three-year-old anti-bikie laws.

In a surprise, last-minute move, the Federal Government has lodged submissions endorsing the state's case.

It is the first time the Federal Solicitor-General has intervened in High Court challenges against anti-bikie laws.

The 20-page submission was prepared by Acting Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson, SC.

"The Act's broad objective is to disrupt and restrict the activities of organisations involved in serious, criminal activity and the members and associates of such organisations," he said.

Legal sources said the Federal Government move to support Queensland's Criminal Organisation Act 2009 (Qld) would be "invaluable" in the High Court.

Every state and territory in Australia -- with the exception of the ACT and Tasmania -- have joined the challenge, to be heard by the High Court next week.

If the Finks lose, Queensland's legislation will become a national blueprint in the war against outlaw motorcycle gangs.

The hearing is set down for December 4 and 5, with the Finks represented by leading criminal law firm, Potts Lawyers, and $12,000-a-day Sydney silk, Bret Walker, SC.

In submissions, the powerful legal team has labelled the laws "repugnant" to the judicial process.

It argues sections of the Act are invalid and rely on secret information that cannot be tested by the club or its legal representatives.

The lawyer for the Finks, Bill Potts, said there was national interest in the case because it involved a constitutional challenge.

The High Court is not expected to hand down its decision until early next year.


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