Bikies still face prosecution despite severing gang ties
MEMBERS of the Bandidos and Life and Death outlaw motorcycle gangs have handed over their club patches to a Toowoomba law firm.
Creevey Russell Lawyers principal Dan Creevey said close to 20 members in Toowoomba had quit their clubs in the last week in an effort to avoid jail.
Despite the move, Mr Creevey said the State Government's tough new anti-bikie laws did not guarantee any protection from prosecution.
He has called on Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie to provide guidance as to how members of the 26 outlawed bikie gangs could sever ties in the eyes of the law.
Even bringing his clients into the office has proven a logistical nightmare, with any meeting of three or more bikies declared illegal under the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment laws.
"They are all, understandably, frightened of being seen together," Mr Creevey said.
"We have had police waiting outside our doors for them to exit, and searching their vehicles.
"Again, nothing has been found and no charges have been laid."
Despite the State Government declaring the groups illegal, Mr Creevey said no provision had been made for members to quit.
"They have handed their colours to us and we've made arrangements for them to be sent back to the mother chapters," Mr Creevey said.
"We have signed documentation, letters of resignation and affidavits to that effect.
"But we're still being told that it doesn't satisfy police that they are not members of a club.
"Nothing in the act gives us any guidance.
"If the intent is to break these clubs down, surely they must give those who want to get out an opportunity to do so.
"Otherwise, they just lock them up and throw away the key, which is just ridiculous."
In a letter addressed to the Attorney-General, Mr Creevey outlined the legal issues.
"As the person responsible for drafting the legislation, please provide us some with guidance on what advice can be given to the members that have made the decision to resign from their motorcycle clubs, leave their criminal past behind them and become law abiding members of the community, to ensure that they are no longer considered as members," he wrote.
"Or, is it the situation that those who were once 'bikies' are to be forever regarded as criminals without being afforded an opportunity for rehabilitation?"