The first guy to be charged under Queensland’s draconically tough anti-bikie laws is not going to let the allegations go undisputed.
On December 16, 44-year-old Phillip Bruce Main was pulled over by detectives in the Brisbane suburb of Hamilton, where he was arrested for wearing two large gold rings – one with a diamond 1% motif, the other with the Mongols Outlaw Motorcycle Gang symbol.
The Queensland laws, passed just last month, prohibit outlaw motorcycle club members from wearing their colours or paraphernalia in any public place on penalty of fines up to $4786 or six months in jail.
Main’s lawyer, Michael Gatenby, entered a not-guilty plea at the Brisbane Magistrate’s Court today. He confirmed to reporters outside of court that Main intended to contest the charges, and suggested that Main was doing nothing illegal until he followed the cops’ directions.
“On one view of it it’s quite improper that police direct people to get out of a car and then charge them for being in a public place,” said Gatenby. “One has to wonder whether the public purse is being sensibly expended prosecuting this man for wearing a ring in his car.“
Queensland’s anti-bikie laws have been the subject of national attention since their introduction under Premier Campbell Newman, and remain the toughest organised crime laws in the country.
Apparently, some of the kinks – like whether you can ask someone to come outside, and then arrest them for coming outside – have yet to be worked out.
Image: Queensland Police Service.