The Courier-Mail

Taxpayers could foot bill on bikie court costs

- MEGAN WEYMES

FAILED charges brought against Gold Coast bikies could end up costing the state’s taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Lawyers for some of the bikies charged in connection with the brawl at a Broadbeach restaurant in 2013 are now seeking costs to be awarded against police.

The applicatio­ns follow the shock acquittal of Bandido Peter Mauric (pictured) last week on a charge of rioting and the subsequent dropping of charges against eight of the men, while another 10 have pleaded guilty to downgraded charges.

At least seven of the bikies have indicated they will make an applicatio­n to recover costs, including Mr Mauric and two other clients – Stephen Cox and Mario Fortunato – of Sydney lawyer Zali Burrows. It’s understood the legal costs for those three clients could total an estimated $160,000.

In the Brisbane Magistrate­s Court yesterday lawyers for George Bejat, Senad Catic, Zivko Stojakovic and Benjamin Thornton indicated they would apply for costs.

In another blow for the prosecutio­n, at least three bikies who pleaded guilty to riot charges have indicated they may now attempt to withdraw their pleas.

Ricky Chapman’s new legal team yesterday indicated he would apply to withdraw his guilty plea. Barrister Sam Di Carlo also indicated his two clients, Adam White and Ahmed Kaddour, could also make a similar applicatio­n.

Magistrate Michael Quinn will receive written submission­s on the three applicatio­ns to withdraw the guilty pleas and will make his decision on June 19. On the same day he will also hand down his decision on legal costs.

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