The arrest of a 43-year-old Bridgeman Downs man whose only transgression was to enter land owned by a motorcycle club underlined the unfairness and unjustness of the Queensland Government’s controversial VLAD legislation, said lawyer Zeke Bentley.
“I believe that the vicious purpose behind these laws is repugnant to the Australian way of life,” said Mr Bentley, “Every time another person gets charged with an offence like this, it highlights how unjust and unfair these laws are, and why they need to go.”
Mr Bentley, whose firm Irish Bentley Lawyers represents the United Motorcycle Council of Queensland, said the duty of government is to pass laws which have a valid purpose, rather than to persecute and destroy any group of people.
Police arrested the man, a member of the Rebels Motorcycle Club, on July 5 after spotting him in the yard of the club’s premises at Matheson Street, Virginia. The premises had been “prescribed” under the Criminal Code Regulation 2013 and were not in use.
Mr Bentley said:”All this man was doing was checking out a property which used to be his clubhouse. He observed unknown people on the site and felt concerned that they might be attempting to break into the building.
“He was alone. There was no “plotting” or “meeting”. Apart from stepping foot on the land, no crime was committed. He was simply concerned about vandals and looters – and, for this, he faces a minimum six months jail term.”
Mr Bentley said the arrested man worked hard to support his wife of 23 years and their three children. He fully cooperated with police, allowing them search his house and, without any entitlement to do so, to take items of clothing . To add insult to injury, the police have published (without authority) photographs of his personal clothing.
“These laws are infecting police behaviour – they are ignoring personal rights – taking clothes, publishing them on-line, releasing misleading statements – where does it end.”
“His family must now live in hope that these unfair and unjust VLAD laws are declared invalid.”
“There has been talk of “disassociation”and the police suggest this is how people can avoid being caught by the laws,” Mr Bentley said, “This is plainly wrong as there is no provision to “disassociate” under the VLAD laws.
“The laws are retrospective. You do not have to have a patch to be caught by them. Draconian consequences and excessive mandatory sentences attach to anyone who satisfies the extremely low threshold of an “associate”.”