26 Sep 2009

Bikie law ruled invalid

8:51 am on 26 September 2009

Bikies in South Australia have had a big win against the state government.

They've successfully challenged anti-bikie laws in the Supreme Court.

The ABC reports that laws allowed control orders to be placed on recognised members of motorcycle clubs under section 14 of the Serious and Organised Crime Act, preventing them from associating with one another.

The court has ruled that part of the legislation is invalid.

Lawyers for one of the clubs, the Finks, had argued the orders were unconstitutional because magistrates were given no choice but to impose them.

The Supreme Court has ruled in a majority decision that part of the legislation governing control orders is invalid.

A lawyer representing Finks members, Craig Caldicott, says they have been vindicated by the judgment.

State govt to appeal?

The SA Government says it is seeking urgent legal advice after the court decision, but the ruling affects only one part of the legislation.

Opposition Leader, Isobel Redmond, says the legislation was rushed through Parliament by a sloppy Government.

SA Attorney-General Michael Atkinson says the Government is considering amending the legislation or mounting a High Court challenge.

In light of the judgment, Adelaide Magistrates Court has dismissed seven control orders made against Finks members under the legislation and three other applications for orders.

The court has also ruled the Government should pay costs for the bikies' lawyers.

South Australia was the first state to impose tougher laws aimed at outlaw bikie gangs and other states have made similar moves since.