15 Oct

Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Bill

Criminal motorcycle gang members will face mandatory jail terms of up to 25 years as part of a range of new and increased penalties to be introduced in Parliament by the Newman Government today.

Under our Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Bill, criminal gang members convicted of certain offences will be declared ‘vicious lawless associates’ and hit with an extra 15 years mandatory jail time on top of their sentence.

A further mandatory term of 10 years will apply if the offender is an office bearer of the criminal organisation.

Tattoo parlours will also require licenses from next year. Current and prospective proprietors will need to be fit and proper persons and will undergo police checks before their application is approved.

Three new offences, specifically targeting criminal gangs, would also be created.

The new offences are:

  • Knowingly gathering in groups of three or more members in a public place (including riding)
  • Going to banned locations (e.g. clubhouses)
  • Promoting or recruiting for the organisation.

These new offences will carry mandatory six month jail terms, with a maximum of three years in prison.

Increased penalties include:

  • Mandatory one year in prison for serious assault of a police officer
  • Mandatory six months in prison for affray with the maximum penalty increased from one year to seven years
  • An $11,000 fine (double the current penalty) and disqualified license for two years for evading police.

The reforms would also strengthen Queensland’s crime fighting bodies and courts. The Crime and Misconduct Commission unprecedented powers to haul in CMG members and question them for intelligence gathering purposes. If members don’t co-operate, they face mandatory jail time, if they don’t answer questions during coercive hearings by the Crime and Misconduct Commission, they face mandatory jail time for contempt. If they refuse again, they get more jail time.

Mandatory jail terms for contempt are:

  • First offence – at the Supreme Court’s discretion
  • Second offence – two-and-half years
  • Third offence – five years.

Criminal motorcycle gang members also face losing their Motor Cycles which the Government proposes to crush. If a member uses his bike immediately before, during or after committing many of these offences, we will confiscate it and crush it. Without his bike. Other vehicles used by gangs will also be able to be confiscated and crushed under the reforms.

In our view this is an appalling piece of legislation that unfairly discriminates against a group or class of people based solely on the their membership of a particular organisation.

We are reminded of the words of Niemöller:

First they came for the communist,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialist,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionist,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

If you or someone you care about is facing Criminal Motorcycle Gang charges or offences for being associated with a Criminal Motorcycle gang, contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers immediately.