The High Court has reserved its decision on whether it will overturn Queensland’s controversial anti-bikie legislation.
The High Court has reserved its decision on the validity of Queensland’s anti-bikie laws.
The challenge to the Newman government’s contentious legislation wrapped up in Brisbane on Wednesday, after solicitors-general from three other states argued in support of the laws.
The Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act and related legislation prohibits bikies gathering in public and imposes lengthy prison sentences on gang members convicted of crimes, among other measures.
Outside court solicitor Zeke Bentley, for Hells Angel member Stefan Kuczborski, said he felt the seven High Court judges gave the challenge a fair hearing.
“I certainly think the judges expressed a number of concerns about this legislation and I think they gave us a good hearing,” he told reporters.
“We just look forward to the result, and hopefully an expeditious one because a lot of people are sweating on this.”
The wording of the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act again came under fire during legal argument.
On Tuesday High Court Chief Justice Robert French and Justice Kenneth Hayne said the colourful wording was distracting.
During his submissions on Wednesday, Western Australia Solicitor-General Grant Donaldson, SC, agreed.
“It is clearly undesirable that legislation such as this be filled with epithets such as ‘vicious lawless associations’ and the like,” he told the court.
“The observation that tendentious expressions such as that tend to confuse rather than clarify is, with respect to Your Honour, highly accurate.”
One of the arguments being pursued by the gangs is that in enacting the laws, parliament has enlisted the court to do its bidding.
But Mr Donaldson said that while the laws were written in a distracting way, he didn’t agree the court had been enlisted in the “impermissible” scheme.
Lawyers funded by more than a dozen motorcycle gangs also argue the legislation is constitutionally invalid and breaches notions of equal justice.
Ken Fleming, QC, said aspects of the laws amount to a “legislative direction” to prove certain people vicious or lawless, without the courts being engaged.
Solicitors-general for Queensland, the Commonwealth, NSW, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory all argued in support of the laws and their validity.
The legislation was introduced last October after a public brawl involving dozens of gang members erupted in a Gold Coast restaurant and spilled onto the street.
A High Court decision is not expected for several weeks.