Major win for police on bikie laws
POLICE will be able to continue to issue consorting notices to alleged bikies that contain multiple names after a landmark decision in the Court of Appeal this morning.
The decision means the controversial anti-consorting bikie laws will continue after being put under a legal cloud.
In March this year, Magistrate Kerry Magee ruled notorious gangland family member Harley Barbaro was not guilty of consorting.
She said the warning notice issued to Barbaro included multiple registered offenders he could not contact.
Under the legislation, she reasoned warning notices should have been given to Barbaro for each registered offender.
Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath appealed that decision and asked for clarification on whether a consorting notice would be valid if it listed multiple offenders on the one notice.
In a landmark decision, the Court of Appeal today ruled police could issue consorting notices containing multiple people.
The court also ruled that if one of the people listed on the consorting notice was not a registered offender the notice would remain valid.
The decision was split two to one with Justice David Boddice dissenting and ruling individual consorting notices should be issued for each offender.
Justice Philip McMurdo said there was no difference between a warning notice listing multiple persons and issuing multiple warning notices for a single person.
"In each case, persons would be identified, each of whom would be said to be a recognised offender, and the recipient would be warned that consorting with them might lead the commission of the offence," he said.
Justice Graeme Crow agreed with Justice McMurdo.
The decision means the almost 1000 consorting notices issued prior to Barbaro being acquitted will remain valid.
A number of consorting cases were put on hold until the Court of Appeal made a decision.
It is understood police had also stopped issuing warning notices while they waited to get clarification from the court.
The decision will not affect Barbaro's acquittal.