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Attorney-General John Rau to close loophole in bikie legislation after police plea

A LEGAL loophole that has allowed the collapse of two bikie association cases — one involving Hells Angels members — is being closed by the State Govern­ment.

Attorney-General John Rau will on Wednesday move to amend key organised crime legislation following discussions with senior police in recent months.

The amendment will remove a defence open to a member of a declared criminal organisation who is charged with associating with another member.

At present a bikie can argue the gang he belongs to is not a criminal organisation, putting the onus on police to prove otherwise — even though the same bikie gang has been declared a criminal organisation by parliament under the Serious and Organised Control Act.

Mr Rau last night said the amendment would simplify the use of the association legislation and ensure police and prosecution authorities “were able to use it more effectively”.

Parliament has declared 10 bikie gangs to be criminal organisations. Under one section of the legislation, it is an offence for a member of a declared organisation to be in a public place with two or more other participants in a criminal organisation.

Mr Rau said each time the “no criminal purpose” defence was raised, the prosecution was required to disprove it.


“This means that the prosecution is required to prove that the criminal organisation had, at the relevant time, the purpose of engaging in or conspiring to engage in criminal activity,” he said.

“The prosecution should not have to prove the criminal purpose of an organisation that has already been declared by the Parliament to be a criminal organisation.”