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Another state proves itself to be regressive , repressive ,discrimatory and reactionary...
Advertiser.com.au can reveal the groups include well-known motorcycle gangs the Mongols, Rebels and Hells Angels as well as other lesser-known racially-motivated hate gangs.
As well as declaring these groups “criminal organisations”, the laws also specify certain premises that declared group members would be banned from attending and prevents two or more members of any of the declared groups meeting in public.
The new laws would make politicians the decision makers rather than the courts because the Government and police say the current court process is too slow and complex.
Moves to introduce similar laws through the courts since 2008 have lead to numerous legal challenges, including appeals to the High Court.
Barrister Craig Caldicott said the legislation looked to be based on Queensland’s controversial laws which had been before the High Court, but not thoroughly tested.
“When the High Court looked at the Queensland law, it actually said the case that had been mounted was the wrong vehicle to test the law,” he said.
“What happened was the local Hells Angels sergeant at arms challenged the law, but he wasn’t subject to a control order or a prohibition.
“The High Court effectively said ‘we don’t want to test a hypothetical’ and said it wanted to deal with an actual case where someone had been affected by the law.
“So the High Court is, in some ways, still waiting for its chance to really look at this legislation — and this might be its chance, because the SA clubs will fight this.”
Today, Premier Jay Weatherill said the declared groups would have their ability to act in the community severely restricted.
“These laws and the proposed 27 gangs to be declared are a direct result of advice we have
received from SAPOL,” he said.
Mr Weatherill said the laws created new crimes including banning members from recruiting others to participate in the criminal organisation.
“It also makes it an offence for people to enter licensed premises wearing or carrying items of
clothing or jewellery or an accessory displaying the name or symbol of a declared criminal
organisation such as club colours or clothing representing criminal gangs, or who fail to leave a
licensed premises when required,” he said.
Attorney-General John Rau said it would be illegal for members of criminal organisations to be present in a public place with two or more other members of a criminal organisation.
“There is also a new offence prohibiting members of criminal organisations from entering a place or event that has been prescribed by the regulations,” he said.
“The gangs declared under this legislation are those with a presence in SA and those that operate in other states and territories.
“By declaring these gangs to be criminal organisations they will be subject to a range of tougher provisions, making it easier for police and the courts to crack down on their criminal activities.”
The proposal to insert politicians into the decision making process comes in stark contrast to the Government’s announcement this week that it would depoliticise the parole process for life-sentence prisoners.
When Attorney General John Rau announced his intention to change the law in March, the idea was met with strident criticism from the Law Society, which feared the move interfered with the separation of powers.
The Opposition has previously signalled support for changes which helped to crack down on criminal organisations but is likely to be concerned about politicising the process.
The laws are similar to those in Queensland and NSW which have been tested in the High Court.
Law Society of SA president Rocco Perrotta said in March that it appeared the Government may be assuming a role normally reserved for a court.
“We would be extremely concerned if the discretion to declare criminal organisations bypassed the court process and rested in the hands of the Government,” he said. “This would undermine the independence of the judicial system.
“The current laws are tough enough and already risk capturing people who are not gang members and who were not intended by the Government to be captured by the laws.
“The police also already have significant powers to investigate gang-related criminal behaviour.”
FEBRUARY 2008: Rann Government drafts the Serious and Organised Crime (Control) Act (SOCCA).
MAY 2008: Legislation passed.
MAY 2009: Finks first club to be declared an illegal organisation. Appeal to the Supreme Court.
SEPTEMBER 2009: Supreme Court rejects the laws and government appeals to High Court.
NOVEMBER 2010: High Court throws out the challenge.
JUNE 2012: Amendments to the SOCCA passed.
MARCH 2013: Police preparing applications to have Finks, Hells Angels and Rebels declared criminal organisations.
JULY 2013: Amendments to the SOCCA to finetune elements.
OCTOBER 2013: Plans to declare the Finks a criminal organisation thwarted when club changes its name to the Mongols.
MARCH 2015:Attorney-General John Rau announces his intention to introduce laws that allow State Parliament, rather than the courts, to declare bikie gangs criminal organisations. Follows Queensland anti-bikie laws that were confirmed by the High Court.
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The Coffin Cheaters
The Fourth Reich
The Gypsy Jokers
The Hells Angels
The Iron Horsemen
The Life and Death
The Lone Wolf
The Muslim Brotherhood Movement
The Red Devils