A bikie challenging Queensland’s anti-gang laws says the Hells Angels is a brotherhood, not a criminal organisation.
The United Motorcycle Council and Hells Angels member Stefan Kuczborski lodged documents in the High Court on Wednesday challenging the validity of the Newman government’s laws.
Some of the measures under attack are extended prison terms for bikies, bans on members of declared criminal organisations meeting in public, and solitary confinement for jailed gang members.
Barrister Wayne Baffsky, who is acting for the council and Mr Kuczborski, said the laws target all Queenslanders, not just members of motorcycle clubs.
“There’s been a considerable amount of injustice done to people who aren’t criminals and who engage in no criminal behaviour,” he told reporters.
“Now we are trying to bring that to an end.”
Mr Baffsky said the laws would be challenged on the grounds they undermine the institutional integrity of the Queensland courts, and deny people the rights of freedom of speech and natural justice.
Mr Kuczborski – a tattooist who is the public face of the challenge – said he moved to Australia to escape communist Poland.
“I want to live in a free society where I’m judged for what I do, not what I associate with, who I’m friends with,” he told reporters.
“The Hells Angels are not a danger to the community.
“It’s a brotherhood. If individuals have committed crimes that’s why we’ve got a criminal justice system.”
Mr Kuczborski said the only item on his criminal record was a conviction for cocaine possession.
Brisbane librarian Sally Kuether is facing six months’ imprisonment under the laws for being in a pub with two alleged bikies – her partner and her friend.
She is supporting the challenge and said she was horrified at the thought of serving her jail term.
It is expected to take some time before the case is heard by the High Court.
Premier Campbell Newman says he’s not surprised a challenge has been mounted.
“We always said they would be challenged,” the premier told reporters.
“Of course criminal enterprises would seek to keep their criminal operations – extortion, stand over tactics, and drug distribution – going.”
The government has denied any link between the challenge and the resignation on Tuesday of Queensland’s Solicitor-General Walter Sofronoff, who helped write the laws.