Charitable VIC motorcycle club members are having property confiscated

26th Sep 2012

Nine members of the Wangaratta-based Tramps Motorcycle Club have had their firearms, some of which are needed to work jobs and farming properties, confiscated by Victorian Police because of alleged prejudice and false assumption.

Australian Lawyers Alliance member, John Suta, who is acting on behalf of the nine, said his clients were incensed that the police had either wrongly assumed that the club was engaged in criminal activity or held prejudice towards men who road motorbikes.

“I fully expect that all members of the club will ultimately have their firearm licences and guns returned to them; however, we are ready for an appeal to the Firearms Review Committee, if that becomes necessary,” Mr Suta said.

“The Tramps Motorcycle Club Inc is a bunch of guys interested in riding motorcycles and fostering mateship. It has made substantial donations to charities over many decades, particularly to the Wangaratta District Specialist School,” he said.

Mr Suta said while there was no definition of ‘outlaw motorcycle gang’ in Victoria, the US Justice Department defined the term as used to describe an organisation whose members used such clubs as ‘conduits for criminal enterprises’.

“I doubt the government would categorise Tramps, and its very substantial donations to charities over many decades, as ‘criminal enterprises’,” Mr Suta said.

He questioned the political motivation behind the raids on August 23 by the Echo Task Force and recent media reports linking state government wishes to enact ‘ground breaking’ anti-bikie laws.

“The proposed laws would provide either the Police Chief Commissioner or the Director of Public Prosecutions with the power to make an application to the Supreme Court to have a motorcycle club banned and clubhouses dismantled. Members would also be forbidden to stay in contact with one another.

"Such laws are unjust, unnecessary and create an unwarranted invasion of human rights such as the freedom of association and the right to a fair trial.

"The legislation is unnecessary, politically motivated, reactionary and threatening to people’s livelihoods.

"It will also unfairly punish numerous incidental people including family friends and dependants of ‘controlled persons’.

"Our current criminal justice system is more than adequate dealing with this, without the need to introduce such regressive laws,” Mr Suta said.

Tags: Human rights Victoria Criminal justice police powers