Yandina Seven: 'Mates at a pub' finally facing court

A GROUP of mates who said they were "everyday Australians having a beer at the pub'' are facing a Queensland-first trial for allegedly gathering while participants in a criminal organisation.

The case of the Yandina Seven has been on hold for three and a half years, delayed by a State Government review of the criminal association legislation.

However, while some alterations were made to the controversial Newman government laws, legislation relating to their alleged offence still exists so the matter was able to proceed.

Eric Fehlhaber, left, and Patrick Moloney, right.
Eric Fehlhaber, left, and Patrick Moloney, right. News Corp Australia

Magistrate Annette Hennessy outlined the charges against Joshua Shane Carew, Scott Michael Conley, Eric Ferdinand Fehlhaber, Patrick Francis Moloney and Steven Michael Smith.

This was one count each of being knowingly present in a public place - the Yandina Hotel on November 1, 2013 - with two or more people who were participants in a criminal organisation, namely the Rebels motorcycle club.

Another party, Paul Jeffrey Lansdowne, appeared briefly with his matter adjourned until April 28, while co-accused Dan Whale was last week delisted with a plea pending.

The five who faced Maroochydore Magistrates Court on Tuesday all delivered a firm plea of not guilty.

The court was shown CCTV footage police alleged showed numerous interactions between the defendants at the hotel.


Scott Conley arrives at Maroochy Court.
Scott Conley arrives at Maroochy Court. Annette Dew

Senior Sergeant Wade Lee, who at the time was part of the Sunshine Coast District Gang Squad, told the court police had visited the hotel a few weeks prior to "make sure gang members were aware'' of the new legislation regarding criminal association.

Sen Sgt Lee said Lansdowne was well known to him as a member of the Rebels club and on prior occasions had been seen wearing his "colours'' (uniform) and found in possession of Rebels clothing, patches and memorabilia.

A police video interview with co-accused Fehlhaber was shown in which he said he was at the hotel on November 1, 2013, and had seen "Paul and Steven'' (Lansdowne and Smith).

In the interview, Fehlhaber said he had been vice-president of the Rebels (Sunshine Coast) until the introduction of the anti-bikie laws. He also had paid monthly "dues'' of $80 into a club account.

Tracy Carew, ex-partner of Joshua Carew and sister of co-accused Scott Conley and Steven Smith, spoke to media outside court, saying the case had been hard on her family and she was glad it would soon be resolved.

She and Carew were high-profile opponents of the new legislation and Mr Carew told media at the time he had been shocked when arrested for having a beer and pizza at the pub.

He said the legislation was "affecting everyday Australians''.

The trial continues.

Courtesy of The Courier-Mail

News Corp Australia

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