Cops want bikie colours banned from Byron and Tweed pubs

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BIKIES wearing colours look set to be banned from pubs and clubs in Byron Bay and on the Tweed following police calls to crack down on outlaw motorcycle gang members.

Byron Bay Liquor Accord chair Hannah Spalding said while banning bikies wearing colours was not new, the accord would vote at its AGM next month whether to adopt the policy at all licensed venues in the town.

"The OLGR (Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing) have a poster venues can put up if they choose to not allow people in 'one percenter' uniforms," Ms Spalding said.

"It's something the police put forward and the members are normally happy to abide by it, but until we vote on it we don't know."

"Troubling" move punishes people for what they might do, says lawyer

She said the ban would only apply to bikies in colours.

"Bikies going to venues in their colours at Byron is not a huge occurrence. You wouldn't know who is a bikie these days unless they were in their colours - they could be wearing a suit."

Ms Spalding said police were being proactive in suggesting the move.

"It's part of the possible changes that will happen now that there are the new laws in Queensland."

Initial indications were the bikie ban would be accepted.

"Normally members are happy to try measures that don't affect trade and that have positive outcomes," Ms Spalding said.

Tweed Byron Local Area Commander Superintendent Stuart Wilkins said police would target any bikie gangs attempting to establish chapters in northern NSW.

"We have requested that the Liquor Accord of Byron and Tweed make part of their regulations that OMCGs not be allowed in wearing colours or paraphernalia into the licensed venues and we expect to have some positive news along the lines that it would be accepted by both the liquor accords in Byron and Tweed in the near future," Supt Wilkins told News Limited.

Supt Wilkins said it was a myth Gold Coast bikies had moved to northern NSW but he was aware of members of the Lone Wolf and Bandidos who lived in the region.

"A number of them live here and a lot of them now don't wear their colours or ride in groups in Queensland, but as I heard one of them say recently, that won't stop them trading in drug distribution and whatever else they're into. It just pushes it underground.

 Move punishes people for what they might do, says lawyer

A LISMORE solicitor has labelled moves to ban bikies from clubs and pubs in Byron and Tweed as troubling and discriminatory.

Tweed Byron Commander Superintendent Stuart Wilkins said liquor accords from Byron and Tweed were approached by police requesting they ban bikies in colours from licensed venues.

But Lismore solicitor Steve Bolt (pictured) said clearly identifying bikies unless they were dressed in colours could become problematic.

"If somebody says 'that's a bad group of people', how do you identify a bad group of people?" he said.

    The system works better when people are being punished for things that they've done, not things that they might do

Steve Bolt

"You are taking steps to push people in some sort of loose way on the basis of some association they might have."

Civil libertarian solicitors will be up in arms about the moves.

"Public safety not withstanding, it's all a bit odd and unnecessary," Mr Bolt said.

"Which is why all the civil liberties type lawyers have been jumping up and down in Queensland about the laws up there."

Mr Bolt said it was a troubling development when people were being punished for things they might do.

"The system works better when people are being punished for things that they've done, not things that they might do," he said.

"While to some extent the legal system does need to prevent crimes occurring, the fact of mere congregation should not be a crime.

"It's doubtful whether a group of people getting together, whether they be a group of bikies or a bunch of nuns, is likely to make a difference as to whether they are going to commit offences or not."

The ban could be seen as discriminatory, Mr Bolt said. But without referring to NSW legislation he could not comment on whether bikies could legally challenge it.

"Bikies should not be a special class of people, there should be no special classes of people, really," he said.

"It's just plain unfair to speculate how a group is going to behave."

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News Article written by: 
Rodney Stevens
Source of News article: 
byronnews.com.au




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