Tramps defer court fight

A SUPREME Court challenge by nine Tramps Motorcycle Club members over the suspension and subsequent cancellation of firearms licences has been put on hold.

Their Wangaratta-based solicitor John Suta this week was advised the Victorian Firearms Appeals Committee has received all documentation relating to the case.

Mr Suta said the committee would decide whether the police decision was upheld or the guns were returned to his clients.

But any decision by the committee can be appealed to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

With a decision pending, Mr Suta said a stay had been put on Supreme Court proceedings.

The matter had been listed for a directions hearing in the Supreme Court this week.

Mr Suta now represents two other bike club members who have had their firearms licences cancelled.

One is involved with the Vikings at Bendigo and the other is a Vigilante member in Melbourne.

The Bendigo man is a primary producer who needs a firearm to put down sick and injured animals.

Mr Suta said the Melbourne man worked at the airport and had passed stringent checks.

The Tramps members had their gun licences suspended in August last year.

Their legally stored guns were confiscated on August 23 by a police taskforce targeting outlaw motorcycle gangs.

Mr Suta filed proceedings on their behalf in the Supreme Court at Wangaratta in November.

The action claimed Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay had breached the rules of natural justice, breached procedural fairness, and misconstrued and misapplied two sections of the Firearms Act.

The case was listed before Justice David Beach on November 22.

But late the previous night, Assistant Commissioner Graham Ashton cancelled the Tramps’ licences.

That effectively stymied the proceedings with a change in status of the licences.

A senior barrister representing the Tramps, Trevor Monti SC, expressed amazement at the timing of the decision.

Justice Beach adjourned the case suggesting a hearing date be obtained as soon as possible.