A SUPREME Court challenge by nine Tramps Motorcycle Club members over the suspension of firearms licences has been stymied by a senior Victorian police officer.
Solicitor John Suta filed proceedings earlier this week on behalf of the Wangaratta-based club for an urgent hearing before Justice David Beach who has been presiding civil sittings in the city.
It sought a review of the licence suspensions after club members had their legally stored guns confiscated on August 23 by a police task force targeting outlaw motorcycle gangs.
The action by Mr Suta claimed Victorian Chief Commissioner Ken Lay had breached the rules of natural justice, breached procedural fairness, misconstrued and misapplied two sections of the Firearms Act 1996.
But barrister Gerard Maguire, in a legal ploy announced at the beginning of court proceedings yesterday, said the shooting licences had now been cancelled.
Mr Maguire said the decision was made about 9.45pm on Wednesday by Assistant Commissioner Graham Ashton.
A senior barrister representing the Tramps, Trevor Monti, told Justice Beach: “We are amazed that this decision was made last night.”
Mr Monti said he wanted to put forward the cases of two applicants, butcher Michael Oxenham and sports store owner Craig Norton, who have suffered business hardship from the suspensions.
“I accept that each suffer significant prejudice,” Justice Beach said.
“It seems to me that the cancellation subsumes everything.”
Mr Monti said there were no grounds for the suspensions with very sinister allegations made against the Tramps members.
He asked Justice Beach to consider restraining the cancellation.
But that was rejected with Justice Beach saying: “I doubt I have got the jurisdiction.”
Mr Monti said the Tramps wanted the case resolved quickly.
Justice Beach said it could be listed in Melbourne as soon as possible after February 23.
The case will early next month be listed for trial with an estimate of two days.