Finks send letter to Attorney-General Michael Atkinson

Sean Fewster, Court Reporter: The Advertiser | January 29, 2009

http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,24979443-5006301,00.html

POLICE are wasting $3 million a year policing a bikie club “made up of grandfathers, union members and gainfully-employed people”, the Finks have claimed.

In a letter to Attorney-General Michael Atkinson, the outlaw group says it is “not in the public interest” to spend time and money banning their organisation “whilst other areas of (the police) are seeking additional men and equipment”.

It says the Rann Government’s push to impose criminal sanctions on its membership is based on incorrect and misdirected evidence – some of it decades out of date.

The club today released its reply to the government’s application, under the Serious and Organised Crime (Control) Act (2008), to “declare” the Finks and control its members.

The application, made in December, alleges 42 current and six former members of the club have engaged in serious criminal activity including rape, robbery with violence, endangering life and the sale of drugs.

In its reply, obtained by AdelaideNow, the club says it exists to promote “interest in motorcycles of either British or American make”.

It says it has 35 members – five of whom are grandfathers – none of whom have ever been declared bankrupt.

“The information supplied … from SAPOL is incorrect,” the letter says.

“Persons who have been attributed offences of violence were not members of the club at the time of the offence (or) are no longer members, or have not been members for decades.

“Indeed, some of the persons the police refer to would be either deceased or on the aged pension.”

It says some of the crimes the Government mentions to “prove” the club is a criminal organisation “took place in the 1960s and 1970s”.

“SAPOL should target individuals rather than targeting the entire club,” it says.

The Finks claim police spend $1.6 million policing “bikie runs” and a further $1.5 million on its Crime Gang Task Force.

“This is whilst other areas of (the police) are seeking additional men and equipment,” the letter says.

“Proceedings against an association made up of grandfathers, union members and gainfully-employed people is not in the public interest.

“It can never be in the public interest to render innocent people guilty of a crime simply by association.”

It is understood Mr Atkinson received the letter late yesterday.

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Updated: 29 January 2009 — 18:23