In 2015 new laws were introduced in SA making it illegal for members of organised crime gangs to associate in public places or in clubhouses or to recruit new members. Around this time 10 bikie gangs were declared to be criminal organisations. The final list included the Bandidos, Comancheros, Descendants, Finks, Gypsy Jokers, Hells Angels, Mongols, Nomads, Rebels and Red Devils.
It is currently a defence to these organised crime laws if a member argues that their organisation did not have a criminal purpose. Once this defence is raised by a lawyer, it is up to the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the organisation has a criminal purpose. This has proved to be a complex task for the police and prosecution, and has resulted in a spate of acquittals and charges being dropped.
This week, South Australian Attorney-General John Rau introduced a bill to close this so-called “loophole” and make it much harder to mount a defence to bikie charges. The Attorney has said that that by changing the law he hopes to strengthen organised crime legislation and increase the success rate of prosecutions.
At Williams Barristers and Solicitors, we stay on top of all developments in the criminal law so that we can provide you expert up-to-date representation and criminal defence. We are experienced at defending those charged with organised crime offences and have conducted a number of trials in the Supreme Court of South Australia.
Williams Barristers and Solicitors are committed to ensuring that all South Australians, regardless of their background, memberships or association, are treated fairly by the law. We will explore all possible avenues to defend you no matter what changes are made to the law.