Police watch over funeral of man linked to bikie gang

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(video)--THE brother-in-law of a man who was buried on Friday is expecting to be arrested today.

The Sergeant at Arms for the outlaw motorcycle gang Gladstone Black Uhlans M.C., Chris Hawes, was one of a handful of members who defied anti-association laws to carry out the funeral request of his wife's brother James John Gurney Henzell.

Although James Henzell, 32, was not a club member, just weeks before he took his own life, he described how he wanted to be farewelled --- by his 'brothers', wearing their 'colours'.

James Henzell's funeral Friday, May 20.

James Henzell's funeral Friday, May 20.

His funeral was held on Friday, for 300 guests, at the Boyne Tannum Memorial Parklands.

Chris Hawes, riding with his young nephew, lead a procession of motorcycles for the service.

Acting under the strict VLAD laws introduced by the Newman government, however, up to 30 police officers blocked roads around the parklands, conducted roadside drug tests and watched on during the funeral service.

Cars, including the one carrying James' widow, were also stopped by police.

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Police stop guests from leaving James Henzell's funeral at Boyne Tannum.

Queensland Police did not provide a comment yesterday.

Queensland's anti-bikie VLAD laws introduced in 2013 include legislation preventing three or more members of bikie gangs from being in the same place, at the same time.

The laws labelled 26 gangs across the state including the Black Uhlans M.C. as 'criminal'.

The laws are currently under review and the anti-association laws are expected to be rewritten by the Labor State Government.

But until any new laws come into effect, the existing legislation applies.

Today, as Chris Hawes waits for a familiar police knock on his door for behaviour he knew was in defiance of the VLAD laws, he is calling for an apology to the family from Queensland Police.

Chris Hawe, Gladstone Sergeant at Arms, Black Uhlans M.C.

Chris Hawe, Gladstone Sergeant at Arms, Black Uhlans M.C.

He says the police presence on Friday was unfair and unnecessary.

He says he sought out Gladstone police ahead of time to discuss the funeral plans and was left with the impression police had agreed to observe from a distance.

"You expect to be left alone on a day like that," Mr Hawes said.

"I know James would want me to make a point of this. (The police) got it wrong, so wrong. I'd like an apology for the family - not for my benefit, I know what they think of me - but his grieving family didn't deserve that. I am expecting them to come arrest me under the association laws because I did give my brothers a hug at the crematorium. We did stand in the same room."

If arrested, charged and convicted, Mr Hawes and his fellow members could face six months behind bars.

An extract from Chris Hawes' open letter to Queensland Police, as posted on Facebook and shared with The Observer:

A discussion was made to communicate with the QPS about the procession as I knew alot of bikes would be attending.

Unfortunately this is not the first time this decision turned out to be the wrong one at the end of the day.

James, my brother in law and I had a discussion regarding funeral wishes a few weeks ago and he asked that my brothers and I wear our club colours and lead the possession doubling his sons.

James Henzell

James Henzell

Of course I said yes, I'd be honoured (not realizing the significance of our conversation that night).

I am a man of my word. Its a shame the QPS (isn't)... Not the first time they haven't.

He was a proud supporter of my club. Black Uhlans M.C. Australia.

He was a supporter of a lot of clubs. He attended many charity rides with many clubs...

If you would like the names and details of who I think you should approach and apologize to please contact me.

(It was) a funeral for crying out loud...

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Helen Spelitis
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