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Anti-bikie laws ‘offend natural justice’

October 20, 2009

Anti-bikie laws ‘offend natural justice’

SOUTH Australia’s secretive and controversial anti-bikie legislation “offends the rules of natural justice” , an independent review has found.

The report, conducted by retired Youth Court chief judge Alan Moss, was ordered following the Finks motorcycle club becoming a “declared” organisation in May and must be conducted as part of the legislation.

Tabled in Parliament today, the review found the “unashamedly tough” laws had a “built-in bias” against the accused.

“Obviously the situation offends the rules of natural justice, which require that a person be informed of the allegations against him and have the opportunity to refute those allegations,” Mr Moss wrote.

“This built-in bias is inherent in the construct of the Act and cannot be avoided.”

Despite the criticism, Mr Moss concluded Attorney-General Michael Atkinson had acted fairly in his declaration of the gang.

During the review he was given access to criminal histories of gang members which are withheld from the public.

“It cannot be ignored that senior members of the Government, including the Attorney-General, have been strongly condemnatory of outlaw motorcycle gangs,” Mr Moss wrote.

“I consider that that conclusion (to declare the Finks illegal) was open to him upon the material which was properly before him.

“I essentially undertook the same process and would have reached the same conclusion.

“The Attorney General sought, within the limitations of the act … to provide procedural fairness to the asserted members of the Finks.”

Last month the Supreme Court ruled parts of the laws invalid and voided six control orders against Finks members.

The State Government will now take the case to the High Court.

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