The VLAD laws are draconian – we all know that. One of the worst and most illogical VLAD provisions, prohibits a person from entering property, if that property was used as a motorcycle club house. It is illogical for many reasons, but the worst aspect is that the legislation imposed a mandatory minimum 6 month sentence on anyone who offended it.
A stark example involved one man, who saw people breaking and entering the vacated clubhouse, which prompted him to investigate. He was promptly arrested, and two weeks later the police returned to charge him. Obviously the police felt he should go to jail for 6 months, and they had two weeks to consider whether they would do this, before embarking on this journey.
Where We Come In…
Irish Bentley Lawyers have been fighting for the charges to be removed ever since and the matter was before the Courts yesterday. He is a hard working man who supports his family, and his family rely on his income to survive. There was no suggestion he was involved in any illegal activity (other than walking on the property!) and he fully co-operated with the police.
Whilst the arresting officers were under cross examination, several inconsistent statements were given under oath, following which the Police agreed to withdraw all charges, and to pay $30,000 towards his legal costs. In many respects the police are lucky as we were confident that we would have successfully defended the matter, had the police allowed it to proceed.
Last year’s High Court decision effectively said that the police can only succeed with one of these charges, if they can prove the defendant was involved in criminal activity at the time. They would never have been able to prove that, because he was on his own (so he could not be planning anything), and he was only there because he thought a break and enter was happening.
What is particularly reprehensible is that the police pushed this matter so far, for so long. Whilst our client’s family are undoubtedly relieved it is over, they should never have had to go through the pain and expense of defending a matter that is so absurd.