The “Yandina Five” look like avoiding more jail time after the new Labor Queensland Government has declared the VLAD laws “go too far”.
New Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath has eased the minds of recreational riders and law-abiding people who may associate with members of declared criminal bikie clubs.
The Attorney-General has been tasked with setting up a review into the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD) laws which she says will take away the anti-association laws.
“The laws go too far,” she says.
“Being associated with someone could attract a mandatory 15 years not because you have committed an offence, but because you associated with someone who could have committed a crime.”
The Yandina 5 are a group of people who met in a Yandina pub for a drink and ended up being jailed. All five were jailed, including lengthy stints in solitary confinement, because one was a Rebels MC member. Rebels member Mike Smith (Smithy) says they are still grappling with psychological issues, bail-condition curfews and ongoing police harassment.
Yvette has also eased the minds of recreational riders who have feared being incorrectly harassed by police when they are out riding.
“Recreational riders should be able to jump on their bikes and go up the coast with their friends for the weekend and not feel harassed because that’s what these laws led to,” she says.
The review of the VLAD Laws will be run in conjunction with a broader Royal Commission into organised crime.
“One of the flaws with the bikie laws was that it was (only) looking at criminal bikie organisations, where we know and the evidence we have is that organised crime is much, much broader than that,” the Attorney-General says.
While the mandatory sentencing laws of the VLAD Act will be repealed, she says some sections of the law may be toughened up and she suggested the most serious organised crime offences could attract life sentences.
So don’t expect the whole VLAD Act to be repealed under the new Labor Government.
“There are elements in the laws that work, there are elements in the laws that go too far,” she says.
While she acknowledges that people have been arrested and charged under the VLAD Act, she pointed out that not a single person had been convicted under the so-called anti-bikie laws.