High Court: Bikies 2, Governments Nil.

News has just come through that the High Court ruled that Hells Angels have succeeded in their attempt to have NSW’s Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act declared invalid.

For two years now governments across Australia have been moving to outlaw bikie gangs. Legislation in all cases tends to follow the pattern of allowing Supreme Court judges to outlaw motorcycle gangs, after a request by the police commissioner, and ban bikie gang members from associating with one another, with stiff penalties for those who disobeyed the ban.

While few Australians have much sympathy for bikies, a point the various states count on while doing this, some of us understand the wider implications of allowing this to happen. Once laws that allow certain groups to be singled out as outlaws, it is a relatively easy matter to extend that to any other group that the state disagrees with. Usually this can be done by executive order.

The law should be there to deal with real crimes, which involve actual coercive acts, not to deny certain groups the right to associate. There are plenty of laws on the books already to deal with any criminals within any group.

From SMH:

The High Court ruled on Thursday that Hells Angels have succeeded in their attempt to have NSW’s Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act declared invalid.

The law was enacted in April 2009 by former premier Nathan Rees following the death of bikie associate Anthony Zervas during a brawl at Sydney Airport several weeks earlier.

Effectively the law allowed Supreme Court judges to outlaw motorcycle gangs, after a request by the police commissioner, and also to ban bikie gang members from associating with one another, with stiff penalties for those who disobeyed the ban. Continue reading