The Courier-Mail

YOU WILL NEVER WIN

Commission­er’s blunt message to bikies

- GREG STOLZ JEREMY PIERCE

THE bikie gangs have won the battle but they haven’t won the war, according to Police Commission­er Ian Stewart, who has made a rallying call to his troops after last week’s crushing court defeat at the hands of outlaw bikies.

Seven Bandido motorcycle gang members charged over the infamous Gold Coast bikie brawl, which triggered Queensland’s tough antibikie laws, walked free from Southport Magistrate­s Court after they were either found not guilty or had charges dropped. Charges against four others were downgraded to public nuisance.

Amid fears emboldened bikies would now move to reclaim the streets, and the prospect of the VLAD laws being watered down by the Palaszczuk Government, Mr Stewart has sent an email to all Queensland police officers urging them to stay staunch.

In the email, obtained by The Courier-Mail, he dismissed the court defeat as a technical loss and said he was “very grateful” to police who attended the brawl and brought the bikies before court.

Referring to Peter Mauric, the Bandido whose not guilty verdict triggered the collapse of the police case against his fellow bikies, Mr Stewart said: “It should be noted the court made no criticism of the police case. The court specifical­ly found the response of police was restrained, appropriat­e, lawful and within training.”

Magistrate Michael Quinn, who presided over the Mauric trial, stressed in his verdict the case had “nothing whatsoever” to do with the VLAD laws.

Senior police believe the prospect of the VLAD laws being watered down is a bigger worry than the court loss.

Some senior officers are also furious, believing Crown law officials bungled the case.

Police say bikies have become more visible on the Gold Coast since the Newman government’s defeat but only in groups of up to two to avoid VLAD’s anti-associatio­n laws.

Broadbeach traders refused to comment when asked if they feared the bikies could make a comeback and area councillor Paul Taylor did not respond for comment.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said bikies would never take back the streets. “They feel like they’ve had a victory, but they’re not stupid,” he said.

“They know they are seen as a menace in our city and they’re not welcome here. None of that has changed.”

Leading criminal lawyer Bill Potts also rejected suggestion­s bikies would feel emboldened by this week’s court case.

“Any suggestion that people are going to be unsafe is not logical,” he said.

“The VLAD laws would not have made a damn bit of difference to this case because the charge of riot is incredibly hard to prove.

“It was after this incident that the laws came in and we have since seen better and more proactive policing.

“If you want to stop crime you make sure people know they are likely to get caught.”

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