The Guardian (15.10.15) reported that police have dropped the case against the first three men charged under the state’s controversial anti-association laws.
‘Prosecutors offered no evidence against alleged Mongols bikies James Cleave, Leslie Markham and Bradley Baker on Wednesday. They were arrested in November 2013 for gathering in a group of three or more at the Palazzo Versace hotel on the Gold Coast.
‘They were lawfully there, they spent the night in the accommodation – which was lawful,” their solicitor, Michael Gatenby, told ABC radio on Thursday.
‘When they attempted to pay the bill, regrettably, the third person came over to check the bill and that’s when [the prosecutors claimed] their conduct became unlawful.’
TJRyan Foundation Research Associate, Terry Goldsworthy, comments:
‘Yet again yesterday in Southport Court an association arrest failed at court, this is now just one of many. Yet nowhere do we see senior police come out and address why not one association charge has stuck in the two years we have had a bikie war. Despite conducting a very active media campaign in the initial bikie war there is now an absence of senior police explaining why these matters are consistently failing. There are some tough questions that should be asked of senior levels of government and the Queensland Police Service.
- Why have there been no successful convictions?
- Is it a systemic failing on the part of the police in charging people with offences they could not prove?
- What impact did the political pressure have/if any in police charging people when there was a clear deficiency of evidence? Especially given the revelations of direct interference in recent media articles.
- Did the police actually understand the high court ruling in relation to association charges and what legal advice did they take as a result?
- Are they now going to withdraw all remaining association charges to avoid further cost and embarrassment?
- What has the total cost of the failed prosecutions been to date?
Many people have now been deprived of their liberty and put to substantial cost, one would hope that these flawed prosecutions were not rushed out to suit a political agenda.