Aussie club wins right to High Court challenge

Australia's highest court has granted the Finks MC the right to challenge the validity of controversial Queensland anti-biker/anti-association laws being used to have them declared a criminal organisation. 
The Gold Coast chapter of the Finks on Friday won the first round in their fight in the High Court of Australia in Canberra during a hearing over the constitutionality of tough state laws introduced in 2009.
The Finks' barrister, Brett Walker, SC, during a "removal application'' argued the proposed new laws, as part of the Criminal Organisation Act 2009, were unconstitutional and should be heard by the full bench of the High Court.
Barrister Peter Davis, SC, for Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon, said the removal application was not opposed.
However, both Mr Walker and Mr Davis said the issues to be argued before the full bench of the High Court had yet to be finalised.
The court, comprising Chief Justice Robert French and Justice Susan Crennan, granted the removal and ordered the matter be referred to a single judge, most likely Queensland's Justice Susan Kiefel, to rule on matters to be considered.
The court was told arguments were most likely to target Parts 2 and 6 of the Criminal Organisation Act 2009.
Part 2 relates to powers to declare an organisation as a criminal entity, while Part 6 relates to matters of criminal intelligence.
The QPS move to declare the bikers a criminal organisation was prompted by the shooting of two people at a busy Gold Coast shopping centre in May.
The QPS also claim the Finks had been involved in crimes including murder, extortion, robbery and drug trafficking and pose a significant risk to the wider community.
Similar moves in South Australia and NSW to have motorcycle clubs declared criminal organisations have been defeated in the courts by the Finks and Hells Angels respectively.
Mr Walker led the Finks' successful High Court challenge against similar laws in SA two years ago.

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