14 Nov 2012

Gang bill seen as infringing others' rights

10:24 pm on 14 November 2012

A lawyer for the Red Devils gang has told MPs that a bill cracking down on gang intimidation will infringe the rights of those who are not in gangs.

The legislation would prohibit the wearing of gang patches and insignia in public buildings and grounds.

Steven Rollo represents seven Red Devils gang members who had serious charges stayed, after police tried to falsely prosecute an undercover officer.

Mr Rollo told the Law and Order Select Committee on Wednesday the bill's definition of gang insignia was too broad, as it also covered symbols worn by the public.

He said this would lead to confusion and arbitrary enforcement.

"My wife has a tee-shirt that just randomly has 45 on the front of it. Now she would be at risk, or certainly at suspicion, of wearing a tee-shirt that supports the 45 motorcycle club. This bill will affect the rights of everyone to wear quite innocuous garments."

Mr Rollo saw no need for the bill, because he said, people who had actual contact with gang members were generally not intimidated by them.