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Lawyers warn bikie laws could lead to increased corruption

VLAD LAWS: Queensland lawyers warn controversial bikie laws could lead to police corruption.
VLAD LAWS: Queensland lawyers warn controversial bikie laws could lead to police corruption. Jorge Branco

LEADING Queensland lawyers have warned the controversial bikie laws could lead to increased police corruption.

In a submission to the taskforce evaluating the laws, the Queensland Bar Association has warned anti-association laws are "fraught with risks of police corruption" and has urged the taskforce to recommend the laws be overturned.

The association said police already had extensive powers to combat organised crime through wire taps, data interception and information sharing with other criminal investigation agencies, such as the Crime and Corruption Commission.

"The association expressly advises the Government to avoid legislation ... which in essence establishes anti-association laws, relying on inadequate forms of proof, such as 'criminal intelligence'; enhances the risk of police corruption; and raises the serious risk of forcing organised crime underground, where it is even more difficult to detect," the submission stated.

In a separate submission, the Law Council of Australia said the laws were unnecessary as police already had extensive powers to investigate and charge organised criminals.

"The Law Council questions the necessity for the introduction of extraordinary and far reaching 'anti-bikie' laws in light of the extensive range of law enforcement and investigative powers already available to police in all jurisdictions and pre-existing criminal offences designed to combat the commission of crime by groups, such as extended liability offences of conspiracy," the submission stated.

But police submissions have supported the Newman Government-era legislation.

Despite submissions from people affected by the laws, including many from bikies, police have stood by the laws. "The QPS considers that the legislation put in place in 2013 has been effective for the purposes for which it was enacted," the police submission stated.

The taskforce is due to report back to Queensland Parliament by March 31.

Topics:  bikie laws, queensland police



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