Lawyers are telling alleged bikie clients not to front court because they risk being nabbed under Queensland’s anti-association laws.
Alleged bikies charged under tough new Queensland laws are being warned by their lawyers not to show up for their day in court.
More than 20 alleged bikies were represented by their lawyers at Southport Magistrates court on Tuesday, after they were urged to stay away to avoid further charges.
Under new anti-association laws, when three or more bikies gather in public they can be prosecuted and jailed for a mandatory six months and as long as three years.
Hannay Lawyers, which represented two of the accused, told its clients to stay away from Tuesday’s court proceedings because other alleged bikies would be there.
“The anti-association laws are ridiculous,” Daniel Hannay told AAP.
“It’s reducing their civil liberties to be present for their day in court. If they come outside to say goodbye, it could be seen as association and more jail time could potentially flow.”
The president of the Australian Council for Civil Liberties, Terry O’Gorman, says the anti-association laws are farcical and there is a huge amount of uncertainty.
He gave the example of a group of bikies having to front court as co-accused in the same crime.
“You have to walk into court separately, you can’t be seen anywhere near each other in a court corridor,” Mr O’Gorman told AAP.
“That’s how ludicrous these laws have become.
“When in court, it is unclear which law reins supreme – the bail act which requires you to appear, or the inherent power of the court to regulate its own proceeding, or the new bikie laws that say a court is a public place.
“It shows how obscenely extreme and farcical these laws have become, where bikies who wish to turn up for a mere mention of a matter fear being pinched.”
Comment has been sought from Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie says appropriate arrangements are being made on a “case by case basis” to ensure criminal gang members appear in court without breaching the law.
“This is just more misinformation from people with very vested interests,” he said.
“The legislation is designed to make organised criminal gang members face court but it also prevents incidences of witness intimidation, which police say has occurred in the past.”