News & Current Affairs
12 December 2013
Six Months in Jail for Having a Beer; says furious Rebel
A furious alleged Rebels bikie gang member says he and his sons face six months in jail for the "crime" of having a beer together at a Sunshine Coast hotel.
The man, who identified himself as Mike Smith, rang his local ABC to complain ahead of his expected arrest.
Four men have been arrested on the Sunshine Coast today under the State Government's tough new laws making it an offence for members of outlaw motorcycle gangs to gather.
In a statement, police said officers from the Sunshine Coast District and Taskforce Maxima executed five search warrants at properties around the Sunshine Coast and hinterland early this morning as part of Operation Lima Birch.
The four men, aged between 30 and 56 have been arrested and charged with an offence under Section 60A of the Criminal Code relating to three or more members together in a public place.
"The charges relate to the men allegedly associating for several hours at a hinterland hotel in early November,'' the statement said.
"All men are known members of the Rebels Criminal Motorcycle Gang.
"All four are due to appear in Maroochydore Magistrates court today.
"A 26-year-old man is assisting police investigations.''
Mr Smith said he, his sons and son-in-law, faced 23 hours in solitary confinement for the next six months.
"You know what they've been charged with? Having a beer at the Yandina pub,'' the angry bikie said.
Mr Smith said the new laws had been designed to 'trap people', not stop crime.
The men were apparently caught on CCTV footage.
The man said his son had returned from a day working and he had bumped into him at the hotel.
He said they stayed for about 10 minutes.
Mr Smith said there was no club gear, no colours, or anything to distinguish them as bikies.
"A bloke having a beer with his son after work and they are going to lock us up for six months 23 hours a day.''
He said one of those arrested had a six-month-old baby, another had a 12-month-old baby, and another an 18-month-old.
"The other one has a two-year-old and my wife is a disabled pensioner and I'm her carer.''
He said the children of the men and their wives would be left with no one to care for them for six months.
"Is this what the people of Queensland want? This is the crime they are trying to stop.''
"Five blokes having a beer after work?
"You are kidding me aren't you.''
Mr Smith said while the world was celebrating one of its greatest freedom fighters, Nelson Mandela, the Queensland government was trampling such rights.
He called on the Federal Government to step in, as it would if Australians were locked up on "spurious" charges anywhere in the world.
"How come the Australian government are not stepping in saying this is inhumane?''
He blasted Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, describing him as a 'clown who calls himself a Christian'.
"Well it's a real Christian act ... to lock five fathers up (at Christmas).''
Families of the arrested men
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