PREMIER Campbell Newman has been told to withdraw his comments about lawyers who represent accused bikie gang members, by the Queensland bar association.
This week Mr Newman said lawyers who defend bikies belong to a “criminal gang machine”.
“These people are hired guns. They take money from people who sell drugs to our teenagers and young people,” he said.
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“Yes everybody has a right to be defended under the law, but you’ve got to see it for what it is.
“They are part of the machine, part of the criminal gang machine, and they will see, say and do anything to defend their clients and try and get them off, or indeed progress their … dishonest case.”
Mr Newman made the comments after lawyers for alleged bikies said they were advising some of their clients not to attend court if other bikies were there.
Hannay Lawyers issued the advice this week, after concerns their clients could be charged under anti-association laws if they turned up to Southport Court when other bikies were there.
Mr Newman’s comments sparked an angry backlash, with a number of lawyers demanding a retraction and a public apology.
The QLD bar association issued a statement saying his comments are misconceived, unfair and objectionable.
Gold Coast lawyer Bill Potts, who has represented dozens of bikie members, told the ABC Mr Newman’s comments are insulting and show a complete lack of understanding of the legal system.
He believes the lawyers were right to advise their clients to keep away from the Court as the state’s anti-association laws ban gatherings of more than two bikies or bikie associates.
“A court foyer is a public place, the street in front of the court is a public place,” he told the ABC.
“I myself, anecdotally, have been present in court and had police officers threaten [to charge] girlfriends of people who are accused … simply because their boyfriend was in the dock.”