Bikies Have Lost Their Bid To Strike Down NSW Anti-Consorting Laws

The High Court of Australia

Bikies have lost a High Court bid to have laws in New South Wales aimed at gun violence and gangs declared unconstitutional and invalid.

The High Court still has to make a judgement on whether tough anti-bikie laws in Queensland are valid or not.

But today the court found Section 93X of the Crime Act 1900, which makes it an offence to consort with convicted offenders, was appropriate and served a legitimate purpose to prevent crime.

Nomad bikie club members Sleiman Tajjour and Justin Hawthorne and pensioner Charlie Forster argued that anti-consorting laws, under which they were charged in 2012, infringed the right of freedom of association and communication.

However, the court ruled there was no right to freedom of association in the Australian Constitution and that the law did not breach the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

NSW Attorney General Brad Hazzard says the anti-consorting laws give police the powers they need to disrupt and dismantle criminal organisations, including outlaw motorcycle gangs.

“It is not surprising that criminals don’t like the laws and wanted them overturned, but today’s decision in the High Court ensures they are here to stay,” he says.

The anti-consorting laws carry a maximum penalty of three years jail for people who continue to associate with convicted offenders after receiving an official warning from police.

The High Court still has to give a decision on a challenge to Queensland’s anti-bikie laws backed by 17 biker groups and the United Motorcycle Council.

The bikers argue the state’s Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD) laws give undue power to the Queensland Government to determine the criminality of organisations and their members.

However, the six states and territories have argued the laws are constitutional.

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