MEMBERS of Wangaratta’s Tramps Motorcycle Club might have to wait eight months or more to have an appeal against the cancellation of their firearms licences heard by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Five club members are fighting to have their licences restored. They were first suspended before being cancelled.
Nine members had legally stored guns confiscated a year ago by a police taskforce targeting outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Appeals by eight of them went before the Firearms Appeals Committee in July — seven were rejected in a decision handed down last month.
Businessman Craig Norton, who resigned from the Tramps after his licence was cancelled, had his appeal upheld.
Solicitor John Suta has represented club members in their fight against losing their licences.
He said yesterday that VCAT had been notified of the appeals.
“It will take at least eight months, probably longer, for them to be heard,” Mr Suta said.
“We are seeking to have the hearing held in Wangaratta.”
Mr Suta said the Firearms Appeals Committee decision was based on the concept of “guilt by association”.
The appeals involve the members continuing to be “fit and proper persons” to hold a licence.
“Any decent-minded lawyer will oppose laws that make criminals out of a whole class of people,” Mr Suta said.
“I believe the existing laws can deal with criminal offending.
“I have been at pains to point that out over the past year.”
He said the Criminal Organisation Control Act 2012 made it a criminal offence to associate with an outlaw group.
“These laws can be extended to associates of an outlawed group such as family members or legal representatives such as myself,” Mr Suta said.
“Even a phone call or email can make you an associate of a group and leave you liable to a prison sentence.
“The High Court has consistently ruled that these sort of laws are unconstitutional.
“There is no need for these laws. Our justice system is more than adequate.”