QLD's bikie laws may rest on a hypothetical

AUSTRALIA'S highest court will have to decide whether a hypothetical situation on what may happen to a criminal motorcycle gang member if charged under Queensland's tough new anti-bikies warrants deeming the laws unconstitutional.

The nation's best legal minds packed into a Brisbane court room on Tuesday to argue the validity of the Queensland Government's Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment legislation.

Hells Angel bikie Stefan Kuczborski, who is the face of the United Motorcycle Council of Queensland funded challenge, claims the laws are unjust and invalid.

He said aspects of the legislation which were being challenged included extended prison terms for bikies, bans on members of declared criminal organisations meeting in public and solitary confinement for jailed gang members.

Top legal silk Ken Fleming, appearing for the bikies, told seven High Court justices the laws were invalid because they did not provide equality before the law.

He said the suite of legislation, introduced last year in the wake of the bike brawl on the Gold Coast, ultimately let the government determine criminality not the judiciary.

"What the legislature is essentially saying is the courts must take into account if a person is a participant of a criminal gang despite no court having declared them to be one," he said.

"There has never been a declaration of criminality except from the legislature.

"We say it is a conviction by the legislature, which the courts must take into account, despite no judicial process declaring their criminality.

"It is essentially removing a step in the process."

Queensland Solicitor-General Peter Dunning said all the legal arguments were based totally around hypothetical situations because the plaintiff (Kuczborski) had not actually been charged with any offence.

"There has to be a commission of an offence, not just an offence, but a declared offence," he said.

"At the time of the offence the person must also be a participant.

"The plaintiff has done neither so, once again, it is our submission that he has no standing."

The Commonwealth Attorney-General and Attorneys-General of New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory have joined forces with Queensland to help defend the laws.

It is understood if the case is upheld, aspects of the laws, if not the entire legislation, is expected to be rolled out nationally in supporting states.

The hearing will continue tomorrow .

- APN NEWSDESK


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