Clive Palmer media adviser Andrew Crook charged over alleged kidnap of National Australia Bank executive


By the National Reporting Team’s Mark Solomons and Mark Willacy – exclusive

Fri 19 Dec 2014, 4:59pm

Clive Palmer‘s media adviser and confidant Andrew Crook has been granted bail after facing court charged over the alleged kidnapping of a National Australia Bank executive on an Indonesian island.

Crook was arrested this morning during police raids on properties in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast.

As part of the same operation, police from the state’s anti-bikie taskforce arrested Mick Featherstone, a Gold Coast private investigator and former senior detective at the centre of a year-long probe by Queensland‘s Crime and Corruption Commission into money laundering and police corruption.

Police also issued a warrant for the arrest of multi-millionaire property developer and former Sydney Swans , who lives in Bali.

Do you know more about this story? Email investigations@abc.net.au

Crook and Featherstone were held during morning raids at addresses in the Brisbane suburb of New Farm and Upper Coomera on the Gold Coast.

Crook was then taken to his Brisbane CBD office where police carried out further searches.

Officers also raided another Brisbane premises and seized documents.

On Friday afternoon Crook and Featherstone faced court charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, retaliation against a witness and attempted fraud against NAB.

Crook was bailed on conditions including that he surrender his passport and does not go within 100 metres of the NAB’s Southport branch.

The ABC understands Queensland Police will allege Crook and Mr Smith were involved in a January 2013 attempt to coerce a witness in a $70 million civil case involving Mr Smith to recant his evidence, using subterfuge and threats of violence.

Queensland Police say the charges stem from an elaborate scheme which police will allege was planned partly in Queensland. Section 12 of the Queensland Criminal Code allows for prosecutions for offences overseas where they would be considered crimes in Australia.

Police have been investigating claims Crook and Mr Smith lured the witness, an employee of the National Australia Bank, to Singapore and on to Batam Island in Indonesia using the pretence of a possible job offer from Clive Palmer.

It will be alleged that once on Batam Island, the witness was strip-searched, threatened and forced to make a statement recanting his evidence.

Clive Palmer calls raids a ‘black day for Australia’

Mr Palmer is not thought to have had any involvement in, or knowledge of the plot.

The federal MP arrived at Crook’s office during the raid and said he knew nothing of the allegations.

But he suggested the police actions could be politically motivated.

“I don’t know very much other than to say that Crook Media and Andrew Crook are responsible for all our media in Australia, was responsible for the Palmer United Party winning the last federal election,” he said.

“And of course, the LNP, the Liberal Government – Campbell Newman and Tony Abbott – don’t like the opposition we’ve been giving them in the Senate, they don’t like that sort of thing.

“I think this is a black day for Australia if any of this, which I don’t know anything about at the moment, has anything to do with political freedom in this country.

“I think it’s very important that there’s freedom of speech in Australia, that there’s diversity of opinion. I’m personally very concerned because Mr Crook is our media adviser and if they wanted to attack me or our party they can do that.”

Brisbane-based Crook has been Mr Palmer’s media adviser and spokesman since before the tycoon entered politics.

Since becoming a federal MP, Mr Palmer has retained the services of Crook and his PR firm, Crook Media, to handle his political media relations.

Clive Palmer chats with Andrew Crook Photo: Mr Crook has been Mr Palmer’s media adviser and spokesman since before the tycoon entered politics. (AAP: Dave Hunt)

Mr Smith made his fortune in the tourism industry after his AFL career.

Since 2009 he has been embroiled in legal action against the National Australia Bank, claiming the bank caused him to lose $70 million at the height of the global financial crisis.

He began building the biggest mansion on the Gold Coast, on Hedges Avenue at Mermaid Beach, but was later forced to sell it unfinished and at a loss.

Mr Smith then shifted his businesses to Bali, where he has developed luxury holiday accommodation. He also has interests in New Zealand and has re-invested in Gold Coast real estate in the past couple of years.

It is understood detectives from the Queensland police anti-bikie taskforce Maxima stumbled on evidence of the alleged January 2013 plot earlier this year while investigating Featherstone and his links to bikies, to former and serving police officers and his involvement with online betting syndicates on the Gold Coast.

The ABC revealed in September that Featherstone was the focus of a joint Maxima and Crime and Corruption Commission probe described as a “priority” investigation by CCC chairman Ken Levy.

In a parallel, four-month investigation, the ABC uncovered evidence Featherstone had for almost 10 years been involved in setting up and operating online betting syndicates alleged to have defrauded thousands of people across Australia of millions of dollars.

Queensland’s Office of Fair Trading (QOFT) this week renewed Featherstone’s private investigator’s licence, which had expired in October. It also renewed the licence held by his PI firm, Phoenix Global.

The office of Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, which oversees the QOFT, told the ABC it had conducted the required criminal history checks and could find no reason to deny Featherstone or his firm a licence.

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Berrimah jail’s most famous residents and criminals

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Bradley John Murdoch arrives under police escort at Darwin Airport. Picture: PATRINA MALO

Bradley John Murdoch arrives under police escort at Darwin Airport. Picture: PATRINA MALONE

BERRIMAH prison, described in 2011 as “only fit for a bulldozer”, is finally closing, with the last prisoners transferred on Friday.

Since it was built in 1979, the prison has been home to some of the Territory’s most notorious criminals.

Originally built for about 100 prisoners, the jail’s population swelled to nearly 800 as successive governments took hard-line approaches to crime and sentencing.

In its 35 years, the prison became increasingly dilapidated and overcrowded. Prisoners complained of rotten food and hot, overcrowded, rat-infested cells.

By the time the former Labor government announced the $500 million prison in Holtze, the legal community, human rights advocates and prisoners were heaping criticism on the jail.

In its final years, it saw repeated breakouts, riots and deaths.

NT Ombudsman Carolyn Richards, noted in 2011 that the rat problem was so bad that one inmate was bitten on the scrotum in his sleep.

Former NT Supreme Court Chief Justice Dean Mildren said in 2011 that the prison failed to meet international standards, with Correctional Services Commissioner Ken Middlebrook saying it should be bulldozed.

Instead, the prison will be refitted at a cost of $800,000 and transformed into a detention centre for the NT’s juvenile offenders.

1. Bradley Murdoch

CONVICTED in 2005 of the 2001 execution-style murder of British traveller Peter Falconio, Bradley Murdoch is serving a life sentence with a 28-year non-parole period.

Previously convicted in WA for firing a rifle at a group of Aborigines in Fitzroy Crossing, and with racist insignia tattooed on his arms, Murdoch will be at least 74 when he is released, and has been moved back and forth between Berrimah and Alice Springs prisons.

2. Lindy Chamberlain

THE Chamberlain trial was the most publicised in Australian history.

When Lindy and Michael Chamberlain’s two-month-old daughter Azaria was taken by a dingo at Uluru in 1980, police launched a murder investigation, claiming that Lindy slit her daughter’s throat and left the body in nearby scrub.

The jury found her guilty and sentenced her to life, with appeals going all the way to the High Court. The chance discovery of further evidence near Uluru led to her release in 1986.

3. Douglas Scott

DOUGLAS Scott was 26 when he was found hanged in his cell on July 5, 1985.

His widow, Letty, spent decades pushing for a proper investigation into his death, which sparked the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

A coronial inquiry and the Royal Commission both found that Scott had committed suicide, a claim Letty rejected until her death in 2009.

4. Douglas Crabbe

IN AUGUST 1983, Douglas Crabbe, then 36, drove his 25-tonne truck into a crowded bar near Uluru, killing five.

After two trials in Darwin, Crabbe was sentenced to mandatory life in prison, and married his wife, Mary, in a secret wedding ceremony inside Berrimah in 1988.

5. The Pine Gap 4

THE group of four Christian pacifists staged an illegal “citizen’s inspection” of the US/Australia spy facility at Pine Gap, in 2005, and were charged under obscure national security legislation dating back to the 1950s.

Bryan Law, Donna Mulhearn, Jim Dowling and Adele Goldie trekked for seven hours to reach Pine Gap, sneaked in and took photos of themselves on the roof. They were issued fines and spent a week in Berrimah after refusing to pay.

6. Andy Albury

ALBURY, the closest thing Australia has to Hannibal Lecter, was convicted of the gruesome murder of Gloria Pindan on Mitchell St in November 1983. One of only two men in the NT who will never be released from prison, the former abattoir worker is the prime suspect in 14 unsolved murders in Queensland.

7. Martin Leach

IN JUNE 1983, Leach stabbed and raped Charmaine Ariet and killed her cousin Janice Carnegie near Berry Springs. Along with Andy Albury, Leach will never be released.

In Berrimah prison in 1988, he tried to kill pedophile John Michael Knox with a garden hoe. He was found not guilty on grounds of insanity.

8. Daniel Heiss

HEISS served 23 years in jail, mostly in Berrimah, for shooting dead Peter Robinson in 1990, after Robinson first fired at Heiss. He was known for two audacious escapes.

9. Shonky

NICHOLAS “Shonky” Cassidy, a former Hells Angel, hit Andy Griffiths with his ute, before dumping the body in June 2011. He was sentenced to two years with a 14-month non-parole period, and will have to serve an additional 15 months because the crime was committed while on parole.

10. Ben McLean and Phu Ngoc Trinh

The childhood friends were found guilty of murder after throwing two sex workers off the Adelaide River bridge, into croc-infested waters in 2004. They were sentenced to life, with non-parole periods of 25 years.

Rhodes superannuation administrator charged over missing $3.9m super money – 8yr transfer trail linked to gambling habit


More to come on this greedy bastard after next court hearing

Steve Stickney

Charges relate to money being transferred from members’ accounts.

Charges relate to money being transferred from members’ accounts.

A 52-year-old Rhodes superannuation administrator was charged today with fraud offences relating to the disappearance of $3.9 million.

Late this afternoon Fraud and Cybercrime Squad detectives arrested and charged the man, alleging the senior administrator at a business providing services to a superannuation company altered documents and transferred money from members’ accounts.

They also alleged the money was then withdrawn over a period of eight years, with the funds used for gambling.

Detectives arrested the man at his workplace and took him to Burwood Police Station where he was charged with 16 counts of obtain money by deception and three counts of fraud.

He was granted conditional bail to appear at Burwood Local Court on Thursday January 8, 2015. Are we ever going to see him again seeing he stole so much money?

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/

ICAC: Former NSW minister Ian Macdonald to be prosecuted over Doyles Creek mine licence

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Wipe that bloody smile off your face McDonald, there will be no happy meals in jail when they finish with you (well apart from the I’m dying, have 34 cancers, amnesia and dementia and so on, which will be a disgraceful defence to those that suffer from those diseases

Long time waiting for this, with more crooks to come, including the outrageously corrupt and greedy Obeid Tribe

Update Thu 20 Nov 2014, 4:57pm

ICAC: Former NSW ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald to be prosecuted after corruption findings

Former New South Wales Labor ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald have been ordered to appear in court after prosecutors decided to act on the findings of the state’s corruption watchdog.

Mr Obeid is being prosecuted for alleged misconduct in public office relating to restaurant leases at Circular Quay in Sydney.

Mr Macdonald is being prosecuted for two alleged offences of misconduct in public office over the awarding of a mining licence.

In June, Mr Obeid was found to have acted corruptly by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), which said he “misused his position as an MP” to lobby ministers and a senior public servant over the retail leases.

The commission heard Mr Obeid had a secret stake in cafes and restaurants in the area through his brother-in-law, and he failed to disclose the stake when he lobbied other Labor ministers not to put the leases to a competitive tender when they expired in 2005.

“A court attendance notice was served on Mr Obeid this afternoon, following advice received from the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions,” ICAC said in a statement.

The court notice alleged Mr Obeid induced Stephen Dunn, a senior manager with the Maritime Authority of NSW, to “deal favourably” with Circular Quay Restaurants’ tenancies.

Mr Obeid fronted the media assembled outside his Hunters Hill home and said he would plead not guilty to the charges laid against him. Fraud from day 1, and the were ALL scared of him if you did not go past EO you got nothing back in the day in NSW parliment. Barely made a speech ever it at all, but was a POWER BROKER…WTF with the gutless party tribe (robbo)

“Those inquiries are nothing but sham inquiries that wanted to make ICAC look good,” he said.

He maintained his innocence and said he welcomed the prosecution.

“I have no concern whatsoever that in a court of law we’ll be able to fight the evidence, and I’m very confident,” Eddie Obeid said.

“I’m looking forward to telling the evidence we have. I’m innocent in every instance.”

ICAC’s Operation Acacia investigated Mr Macdonald’s decision to award the Doyles Creek mining licence in 2008, when he was resources minister.

The commission heard the then-Labor minister “gifted” the licence, in the Hunter Valley, to then-chairman of Doyles Creek Mining John Maitland without a competitive tender and against departmental advice.

The corruption watchdog recommended both Mr Macdonald and Mr Maitland be charged.

ICAC said a court attendance notice had been served on Mr Macdonald earlier today, after the DPP provided advice that Mr Macdonald should be prosecuted for two offences of misconduct in public office.

Mr Maitland was being prosecuted for being an accessory to misconduct in public office, ICAC said.

The action follows widespread criticism of a lack of prosecutions resulting from the commission’s corruption findings.

NSW Premier Mike Baird said it was “about time” Mr Macdonald was prosecuted.

“Ultimately, what you need to see is prosecutions,” he said.

“Those prosecutions coming forward is going to give great confidence to the community.

“That is exactly what they want to see – if someone does the wrong thing and if they abuse public office, if they act in their own interest, if they undertake corrupt activity, well, there are consequences and they need to face them.”

The notice alleged Mr Macdonald “did in the course of and connected to his public office wilfully misconduct himself by granting Doyles Creek Mining Pty Ltd consent to apply for an exploration licence under the Mining Act 1992, without reasonable cause or justification”.

He was also involved in misconduct “by granting to Doyles Creek Mining Pty Ltd Exploration Licence No. 7270 under the Mining Act 1992, without reasonable justification”, the court notice alleged.

A court attendance notice was also served on Mr Maitland for two counts of being an accessory before the fact to misconduct in public office “in relation to aiding, abetting, counselling and procuring the commission of the two offences by Mr Macdonald”.

Mr Macdonald has previously described the ICAC findings as “false” and “based on guess work and conjecture”.

Mr Maitland has also rejected the findings.

The matters are listed for mention at the Downing Centre Local Court on December 18.


 

Thu 20 Nov 2014, 12:34pm

Former New South Wales government minister Ian Macdonald has been ordered to appear in court after prosecutors decided to act on a corruption inquiry’s findings.

Mr Macdonald is being prosecuted for two alleged offences of misconduct in public office, after an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) inquiry relating to the awarding of a mining licence.

ICAC’s Operation Acacia investigated Mr Macdonald’s decision to award the Doyles Creek mining licence in 2008, when he was resources minister.

The commission heard the then-Labor minister “gifted” the licence, in the Hunter Valley, to then-chairman of Doyles Creek Mining John Maitland without a competitive tender and against departmental advice.

The corruption watchdog recommended both Mr Macdonald and Mr Maitland be charged.

ICAC said a court attendance notice had been served on Mr Macdonald earlier today, after the DPP provided advice that Mr Macdonald should be prosecuted for two offences of misconduct in public office.

Mr Maitland was being prosecuted for being an accessory to misconduct in public office, ICAC said.

NSW Premier Mike Baird said it was “about time” Mr Macdonald was prosecuted.

“Ultimately, what you need to see is prosecutions,” he said.

“Those prosecutions coming forward is going to give great confidence to the community.

“That is exactly what they want to see – if someone does the wrong thing and if they abuse public office, if they act in their own interest, if they undertake corrupt activity, well, there are consequences and they need to face them.”

The notice alleged Mr Macdonald “did in the course of and connected to his public office wilfully misconduct himself by granting Doyles Creek Mining Pty Ltd consent to apply for an exploration licence under the Mining Act 1992, without reasonable cause or justification”.

He was also involved in misconduct “by granting to Doyles Creek Mining Pty Ltd Exploration Licence No. 7270 under the Mining Act 1992, without reasonable justification”, the court notice alleged.

A court attendance notice was also served on Mr Maitland for two counts of being an accessory before the fact to misconduct in public office “in relation to aiding, abetting, counselling and procuring the commission of the two offences by Mr Macdonald”.

Mr Maitland is also being prosecuted for giving false evidence at ICAC.

The matters are listed for mention at the Downing Centre Local Court on December 18.

More on this story:

ICAC recommends cancellation of coal licences

ICAC finds Macdonald corrupt over Doyles Creek mine

Official advised against coal licence: ICAC

Coal licence a ‘goldmine’ for union boss: ICAC

 


  • Former Labor minister Ian Macdonald facing prosecution over Doyles Creek mine deal

    Date
    November 20, 2014 – 11:30AM

    Sydney Morning Herald State Political Editor

     Ian Macdonald facing prosecution over mining deal

    http://media.smh.com.au/news/nsw-news/ian-macdonald-facing-prosecution-over-mining-deal-6007934.html

    Former NSW Labor minister Ian Macdonald is the first person to be prosecuted after an ICAC inquiry into the Doyles Creek mine deal

    Former Labor minister Ian Macdonald is being prosecuted for misconduct in public office following a corruption inquiry into the issuing of lucrative mining licences at Doyles Creek in the Hunter Valley.

    In a statement, the Independent Commission Against Corruption announced a court attendance notice was served on Mr Macdonald on Thursday on the advice of the NSW director of public prosecutions.

    Last year the ICAC found Mr Macdonald acted corruptly as a minister in 2008 by granting a licence at Doyles Creek to a company then headed by former union official John Maitland.

    Former Labor Minister Ian Macdonald exits the ICAC hearing in February 2013.Former Labor Minister Ian Macdonald exits the ICAC hearing in February 2013. Photo: Nic Walker

    The company, Doyles Creek Mining, was later taken over by NuCoal Resources. Mr Maitland made millions of dollars from the deal.

    The ICAC found Mr Macdonald awarded the exploration licence – without tender and against departmental advice – to his “mate” Mr Maitland, a former national secretary of the Construction, Mining, Forestry and Energy Union.

    The court notice says that Mr Macdonald “did in the course of, and connected to his public office, wilfully misconduct himself” by granting Doyles Creek Mining consent to apply for exploration licences “without reasonable cause or justification”.

    The ICAC has also announced Mr Maitland is being prosecuted “for two counts of being an accessory before the fact to misconduct in public office, in relation to aiding, abetting, counselling and procuring the commission of the two offences by Mr Macdonald”.

    He is also being prosecuted for giving false and misleading evidence to the ICAC.

    The announcement represents the first time prosecutions have been launched against key players in a series of major corruption inquiries into the handling of coal licences held by the ICAC involving Mr Macdonald and former Labor minister Eddie Obeid.

    The ICAC has also indicated more prosecutions could flow from its inquiry into Doyles Creek, codenamed Operation Acacia.

    The businessmen who bankrolled Doyles Creek Mining, Craig Ransley and Andrew Poole, were also found to have acted corruptly by the ICAC last year.

    The ICAC found Mr Ransley, Mr Maitland and Mr Poole deliberately set out to ensure they did not face a public tender for the licence and made false statements to the government to obtain the exploration approval.

    “The Commission is awaiting advice from the DPP in relation to further briefs it has provided with respect to Operation Acacia,” the statement said on Thursday.

    The Doyles Creek licence has been “torn up” by the NSW government on the advice of the ICAC, prompting legal action by NuCoal which has flagged it is seeking compensation of “at least” $500 million.

Rebels torture own member mirroring Bikie TV show


This is how to deal with problems is it? Well stuff that, throw these ass-holes in jail long-term one after the other, and along with new the anti Bikie laws and we may actually get somewhere.

The justice handed out by these bottom dwellers  is not how we want our society to be judged by. Make sure you read further down, this is not a one-off, it is a way of dealing with life in bikie clubs and unless we do something nothing will change and folks will be maimed, tortured, killed in the presence of family (or whoever)  on a weekly basis…

Scroll to bottom of page to see descriptions of the major (and minor) Bikie Gangs in Australia


Rebels torture own member Sons of Anarchy style

November 16, 2014

rebels

 It was said to be a Sons of Anarchy-inspired torture in which nipples were sliced, skin was seared and bones were broken.

But the eight Rebels bikie members who allegedly tortured a former president of their group never dreamed he would talk to police.   

The leader of a local chapter was allegedly hog-tied with cable leads and tortured until he lost consciousness during a 36-hour kidnapping by fellow members.

Police allege the torture is part of a violent ritual for members who leave the outlawed bikie club on bad terms.

The arrest of the eight senior members was a huge blow to the gang, at a time when their national president, Alex Vella, remained stranded in Malta after his visa was revoked.

Details of the alleged torture session emerged during a Supreme Court bail application for lifelong member Andrew Lloyd Hughes on Friday.

Other members charged with the kidnapping included sergeant-at-arms of the Liverpool chapter Khaldoun Al Majid, Matthew Rymer, Jamie Saliba, Ram Lafta and Darrell Pologa.

The court heard  the 45-year-old victim was first confronted by up to 10 masked men in the driveway of his Castlereagh home on May 8.

He was knocked unconscious and woke up in his kitchen where he was allegedly bashed and burned for the next two days.

The group allegedly seared his palms and the top of his feet repeatedly with a knife that had been heated up by a blowtorch.

His right arm was smashed with such force that surgery was required to replace a metal plate that was broken.

He was beaten unconscious several times after being punched repeatedly in the face and body.

Police allege some members of the group held him down while others sliced open both his nipples.

The group, who are attached to the Liverpool and Penrith chapters,  then left him unconscious and took off with three of his cars, a quad bike and a yellow ski boat.

When the victim regained consciousness two days after he was first taken captive, there was no one left in his house.

He managed to free himself with a knife and ran to a neighbouring house before a friend drove him to Nepean hospital.

The NSW Supreme court heard on Friday that many of the accused were captured on footage obtained from an intercom system at the front of the house.

Police allege Hughes was present after finding a fingerprint of his on a banister inside the house.

But barrister John Korn said his client was in no way involved in the kidnapping and had left a fingerprint at the house on a previous occasion.

“All the Crown has is a fingerprint,” he said.

Justice Robert Hulme refused Hughes bail, citing concerns he would engage in similar activities if released from custody.

Outside court, solicitor Warwick Korn said his client Hughes  had nothing to do with the violent kidnapping.

“We call the Crown case abysmally weak,” Mr Korn said.

All eight members are before the courts charged with special aggravated kidnapping and participating in a criminal group.

The arrests were made after gang squad detectives set up strikeforce Salsola.


Bikie gangs increasingly seeing Victoria as safe haven, police association says

Mon 17 Nov 2014, 11:42am

Tough anti-bikie laws being implemented in many Australian states have led outlaw motorcycle gangs to see Victoria as a haven, the Victorian Police Association says.

Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia introduced anti-consorting and control laws, but Victorian legislation has not gone as far.

Police Association secretary Ron Iddles said the Mongols‘ growing presence in Victoria added to concerns that bikie groups now saw Victoria as “a safe haven”.

“I think what we saw on the weekend with the Mongols coming to Victoria was around that fact,” Mr Iddles told the ABC, referring to a reported gathering of members in Melbourne.

“They were a Queensland-based group and now they want to base themselves here in Victoria.”

He said the gangs were very well structured groups and knew “exactly what they were doing”.

“Recently, the Rebels were going to have a function at Wagga (in NSW), but they decided to come into Victoria because they considered it was less obtrusive to operate here in Victoria,” he said.

“I think if you look at a lot of the statistics and intelligence that is around, there is no doubt that organised motorcycle groups are behind a lot of the major drug trafficking, including ice.

Mr Iddles said the current Victorian legislation was clunky and hard to operate.

“It needs to be totally overhauled and we need to look at something like Queensland, otherwise we’ll have every major group working out of Melbourne,” he said.

Victoria to consider tougher laws after ruling: Clark

Attorney-General Robert Clark said Victoria would look at Queensland’s anti-association laws after the High Court rejected a challenged to them last week.

The United Motorcycle Council (UMC) had launched the challenge on behalf of 17 clubs against the state’s Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD) laws.

It argued the laws, designed to disrupt the activities of 26 outlaw motorcycle clubs, were an attack on the judiciary, freedom of speech, and the right to associate.

The UMC said the laws enlisted the courts to carry out Parliament’s intention to destroy their organisations, which was at odds with the Constitution.

But the High Court found the laws did not require the courts to do any more than exercise their judicial power in the usual way.

“It’s not really practical to legislate when you don’t know what the High Court is going to rule so now we can look at opportunities to strengthen Victoria’s consorting laws,” Mr Clark said.

“We brought in a further round of strengthening those laws that came into operation from 1 October.

“Wherever we’ve had the opportunity we’ve been willing to act and now that we’ve had these two High Court rulings, we’ll look at what further opportunities that opens up.”

 Bikies jailed after ‘night of terror’ where ex-clubmate was tortured

January 31, 2014

Steve Butcher

Taniora Tangaloa (left), Jack Vaotangi and Jasmin Destanovic.

Taniora Tangaloa (left), Jack Vaotangi and Jasmin Destanovic.

Three bikies who subjected a former clubmate to a “night of terror” and torture have been jailed by a Melbourne judge who warned such conduct would not be tolerated.

Stephen Jones, 47, had a handgun shoved in his mouth and the trigger pulled, his ear was sliced with a knife, and he was stabbed, cut and bashed before being kicked in the face.

One of the Harley Davidson motorcycles that were stolen.One of the Harley Davidson motorcycles that were stolen.

A guitar was also smashed over his head before the men stole his two Harley-Davidson motorcycles, his car, a laptop, telescope and other items valued at more than $100,000.

Mr Jones sustained injuries that included a broken left cheek and eye socket, stab wounds and cuts to his face, nose and forehead that left permanent scarring and a cracked tooth. His ear was sewn back on.

A Melbourne County Court jury last year found Taniora Tangaloa, 38, Jack Vaotangi, 35, and Jasmin Destanovic, 36, guilty of armed robbery, aggravated burglary and intentionally causing serious injury.

They could not reach a verdict on a fourth man whose prosecution was later discontinued by the Crown.

The men claimed they had not been in Mr Jones’ Epping house on January 15, 2009, when he was attacked about 7.30pm.

Judge Bill Stuart on Friday described the mens’ conduct as “brazen” and which “cannot be tolerated”.

In his sentencing remarks, Judge Stuart said that “everyone in our community is entitled to feel safe and secure in their own homes”.

Mr Jones had been a member of the Rebels and later the Bandidos outlaw motorcycle clubs but had wanted a change of lifestyle.

He told the jury he met Tangaloa at the Rebels in 2001, with Vaotangi and Destanovic, and later he was invited to the Bandidos where they resumed a friendship.

In November 2008, he phoned Tangaloa, who was upset to hear of his plans to quit the group.

The emotional trauma from that “night of terror”, he wrote in a victim impact statement, caused extreme anxiety, recurring nightmares and “living in fear for the rest of my life”.

Prosecutor Alex Albert had submitted that the viciousness and “mental torture” seemed unnecessary, and that all three – despite Tangaloa wielding the gun, articulating threats and smashing the guitar and Vaotangi slitting the ear – supported, assisted and encouraged the other with little distinction in their culpability.

Mr Jones told Michael Sharpley, for Tangaloa, that his client would “put the fear of God into me, saying he was gunna kill me if we spoke to the police”.

Mr Jones rejected the suggestion from Destanovic’s barrister Wayne Toohey he was a “cunning liar” and that his client was not present.

Tangaloa, a “pallet technician” and father of 11 from three relationships, who has no prior convictions, was described by supporters as a generous family man, charitable, and one who “gives of himself to his friends”.

Destanovic, a father of five and a painter and decorator who has criminal convictions that include assault, seemed, said Mr Toohey, “like a normal, run of the mill fellow”.

Barrister James McQuillan said Vaotangi, a married father of three, had convictions for violence, but was “essentially a family man” from a good Christian family who at the time of the incident was “out of control” on ice when associating with the “wrong crowd”.

Judge Stuart found the purpose of beating Mr Jones was “principally to terrify him” and so ensure he did not identify his attackers.

While the three had initially succeeded in that endeavour, two weeks after the attack Mr Jones identified each man.

“You underestimated him,” Judge Stuart told the men.

Judge Stuart said the five year delay from offence to sentence was a “powerful mitigating circumstance” and he also regarded that each man had good prospects for rehabilitation.

Tangaloa and Destanovic were jailed for eight years with a minimum of five years, less 307 days each for pre-sentence detention.

Vaotangi was jailed for seven-and-a-half years with a minimum of four-and-a-half years, less 258 days pre sentence detention.


Bikie beating fells ex-Bandidos member

Date
December 29, 2013

This Bandidos member never thought leaving would unleash the hell it did.

Stephen Jones simply didn’t want to be an outlaw motorcycle gang member any more.

He’d been with the Rebels and later the Bandidos but got ”fed up” with the lifestyle and wanted to go straight.

Mr Jones, 47, aimed to spend time with his young daughter, run a family business and be ”happy to have a few friends who had Harleys and go for a ride”.

Although adamant there was no ”bad blood” on quitting the Bandidos, he knew the bond was over. But he never imagined that the parting would unleash hell.

January 15, 2009, had been hot, and as evening simmered towards sunset, life in Earlybird Way, Epping, appeared normal and neighbourly.

Mr Jones had woken from a nap and was on the phone to a friend about 6.30pm to arrange a ride when the doorbell rang.

He peered out and saw former clubmates Jack Vaotangi and Jasmin Destanovic at the front door, which had been bashed in.

Mr Jones, wearing only underpants, cowered in his en suite and dialled 000, but before he could push the ”send” button they, now with Taniora Tangaloa, had him.

A handgun was shoved in his mouth and the trigger pulled, his ear was sliced with a knife, and he was stabbed, cut and bashed before being viciously kicked in the face. A guitar was smashed over his head.

And in a final indignity, especially for a biker, the men rode off on his prized possessions – two Harley-Davidson motorcycles. They also stole his car, a laptop, telescope and other items, the plunder valued at more than $100,000.

A Melbourne County Court jury found Tangaloa, 38, Vaotangi, 35, and Destanovic, 36, guilty of armed robbery, aggravated burglary and intentionally causing serious injury, but could not reach a verdict on a fourth man whose prosecution was later discontinued by the Crown.

After numerous delayed trials, the jury, by their verdicts, didn’t accept the men’s defence that they simply weren’t at the house.

Mr Jones listed injuries in his victim impact statement that included a broken left cheek and eye socket, stab wounds and cuts to his face, nose and forehead that left permanent scarring and a cracked tooth. His ear was sewn back on.

The emotional trauma from that ”night of terror”, he wrote, caused extreme anxiety, recurring nightmares and ” living in fear for the rest of my life”.

Why was he subjected to such vicious treatment?

Rather than retribution for leaving the club, Judge Bill Stuart regarded the men’s motivation as an apparent ”desire … to steal whatever they could”.

Judge Stuart also said the ”extreme beating” was to ”terrify him such that he will not report the thefts from his home”.

Prosecutor Alex Albert agreed, submitting that the viciousness and ”mental torture” seemed unnecessary, and that all three – despite Tangaloa wielding the gun, articulating threats and smashing the guitar and Vaotangi slitting the ear – supported, assisted and encouraged the other with little distinction in their culpability.

Mr Jones told the jury he met Tangaloa at the Rebels in 2001, with Vaotangi and Destanovic, and later he was invited to the Bandidos where they resumed a friendship, but there was ”bad blood” when some left that club.

In November 2008, he phoned Tangaloa, who was upset to hear him say ”I don’t want to be part of your group any more” because ”they like to keep the hard-core group together”.

”These blokes used to hug me and kiss me and say, ‘We love, brother,”’ he said.

The last words Tangaloa offered, Mr Jones recalled, were ”just keep in touch, take it easy”.

The next ones he heard from Tangaloa were on January 15 while he was on his knees – with Vaotangi and Destanovic holding his shoulders – after he had put a gun to his mouth: ”I want all the keys to your Harley-Davidsons, all the money you’ve got in the house, and today you’re gunna die.”

After the beating, Mr Jones remembered saying to himself, ”You’re still alive, you’re still alive” then the sound of his Harleys ”start up and go”.

He agreed with Michael Sharpley, for Tangaloa, that he first refused to identify his attackers, but later did.

”I had enough, I was fed up,” he said. ”I was in a bike club, I had nothing to do with bike clubs any more.

”Being in the bike clubs they grind into you that you’re not allowed to talk to police, you’re not allowed to identify anyone if you ever spoke to police. Joe [Tangaloa] would put the fear of God into me, saying he was gunna kill me if we spoke to the police.”

Mr Jones rejected the suggestion from Destanovic’s barrister Wayne Toohey he was a ”cunning liar” and that his client was not present.

He also denied he feared outside his door the husband of a Tony Mokbel associate whose wife he’d earlier had an affair with, or that Bandidos were responsible.

In pleas for mitigation that ended this week, Tangaloa, a ”pallet technician” and father of 11 from three relationships, who has no prior convictions, was described by supporters as a generous family man, charitable, and one who ”gives of himself to his friends”.

Destanovic, a father of five and a painter and decorator who has criminal convictions that include assault, seemed, said Mr Toohey, ”like a normal, run of the mill fellow” who had ”no great problem with the world”.

Barrister James McQuillan said Vaotangi, a married father of three, had convictions for violence, but was ”essentially a family man” from a good Christian family who at the time of the incident was ”out of control” on ice when associating with the ”wrong crowd”.

Now drug free, employed and back with his family, Vaotangi, said Mr McQuillan, ”wants to rectify his past”.

Judge Stuart, who will sentence the men next month, has acknowledged that the delay in finalising the charges was a significant factor.

By their colours: Outlaw motorcycle gang identification guide

According to the Australian Crime Commission, outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCGs) are among the most identifiable components of Australia’s criminal landscape.

The ACC says OCMGs are active in all states and territories and lists 44 as being of interest, with a total of 179 chapters and 4,483 members.

The Rebels gang boasts by far the biggest membership, at 25 per cent of the total, while the Bandidos have 7 per cent, the Outlaws and Hells Angels 6 per cent, Lone Wolf 5 per cent and Comancheros 5 per cent.

There has been a 48 per cent increase of OMCG chapters since 2007, according to the ACC.

The joint National Attero Task Force was set up in 2012 to target the Rebels, considered one of Australia’s highest risk criminal threats, and claimed success by recovering $1.7 million owed to the Australian Taxation Office.

The authorities also laid 1,200 charges for such offences ranging from serious assault and kidnapping, to firearms, weapons, drugs, property and traffic offences.

Along with firearms, they recovered Tasers, machetes, knuckle dusters, throwing stars and illegal knives and batons.

Among the OMCGs of interest to Australian authorities, many have links with notorious overseas gangs.

Rebels

The Rebels are the only major home-grown gang and were formed in Brisbane several decades ago. They boast the country’s biggest membership and have been tied to various execution-style killings over the past decade, including the murder of three members of rival club the Bandidos.

The ongoing war has seen the clubhouse of the Rebels’ “mother” chapter in the inner-Brisbane suburb of Albion torched and shot at.

The Rebels have added suspected counterfeiting activities, tax evasion and trafficking stolen goods to their known involvement in drug manufacture and supply.

Bandidos

The Australian offshoot of the group formed in San Leon, Texas, claims to have formed in August 1983 when ex-members of the Comanchero club met and were “greatly impressed” by members of the American gang.

They were so impressed they split with Comanchero, causing an ongoing rift that culminated in the 1984 “Milperra Massacre” south-west of Sydney that left seven dead and 28 injured.

The Bandidos have been targeted by US law enforcement as one of the “big four” gangs involved in the drug trade, as well as arms dealing, money laundering, murder and extortion.

The US justice department regards them as a “growing criminal threat” to the country.

Hells Angels

The Hells Angels originated in California in the US and are easily the most notorious of the “1 per cent” bikie clubs – the ones that give 99 per cent of motorcyclists a bad name.

The gang operates in as many as 27 countries and poses a criminal threat on six continents, according to the US Department of Justice.

The club’s criminal activities are known to include drug production, transportation and distribution, as well as extortion, murder, money laundering and motorcycle theft.

Membership in the US is limited to white males who cannot be into child molestation, and the club’s website boasts that each of its members rides, on average, 20,000 miles a year.

In Australia, the club says it has 10 active chapters in all states except WA and Tasmania and also in the Northern Territory. Recent reports suggest that the Angels are trying to widen their footholds in the drug trade, bringing them in direct conflict with rivals such as the Comancheros.

Mongols

Formed in California in the 1970s, the Mongols Motorcycle Club is inspired (in name) by the empire of Genghis Khan and is believed to have about 70 chapters nationwide.

Many US members are former members of Los Angeles-area street gangs, leading the powerful US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to consider it the “most violent and dangerous” bikie gang operating there.

The Mongols, sworn enemies of the Hells Angels, boast of having chapters in the US, Mexico, Germany, Norway, France, Spain, Italy, Israel, Thailand and now Australia. Recent reports in the Fairfax media indicate the club has been scoping out territory for the club in Sydney and on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

A patched member from the Mongols’ France-based chapter had moved to the Gold Coast and aligned himself with the Finks, Fairfax reported last week, in an expansion bid.

Finks

The Finks arguably made their name in Australia after the “Ballroom Blitz”, a gang fight with Hells Angels members at a Gold Coast kickboxing tournament in 2006 featuring guns, knives, knuckledusters and chairs.

According to recent reports, the Finks are planning to patch over their whole group to the international powerhouse Mongols in a bid to become the most-feared outlaw club in Australia and circumvent moves by authorities to have the club declared a criminal organisation under controversial anti-association laws.

The news comes in the wake of three public bikie brawls on the Gold Coast.

It is believed to also have prompted the Federal Government to send a new federal anti-gang squad to Queensland’s Gold Coast to help the State Government in its crackdown on bikie gangs.

The patchover would involve the Finks swapping club support gear with Mongols “colours” and removing Finks club tattoos.

Comancheros

Thought to have instigated the Milperra massacre, the Comancheros are seen as encouraging a growing trend among bikie gangs to allow non-bikies to join.

The Daily Telegraph reported in August that the self-proclaimed national leader of the gang, Mark Buddle, had neither a motorcycle licence nor a bike.

“Show a modern Comanchero a motorbike and he wouldn’t know how to ride it,” former detective Duncan McNab told the paper.

“They are criminal gangs who sometimes get on a bike.” The phenomenon has even spawned the phrase “Nike bikie”, the paper wrote, as other bikie gangs look to recruit members to beef up their criminal activities.

The Victorian police earlier this month charged five members of the Comancheros over a recent spate of shootings in Melbourne’s south-east.

All but one of the Comancheros were accused of running a debt-collecting syndicate which allegedly uses violent standover tactics to get money from victims.

Other prominent OMCGs

  • Gypsy Jokers
  • Black Uhlans
  • Nomads
  • Rock Machine
  • Odin’s Warriors
  • Tramps (Wangaratta)
  • Satan’s Soldiers
  • Diablos (Bandidos)
  • Notorious
  • Vikings
  • Red Devils
  • Coffin Cheaters
  • Satan’s Riders
  • Devil’s Henchmen
  • Outlaws
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