Tramps must wait for ruling

THE Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has reserved a decision on whether three Wangaratta-based Tramps Motorcycle Club members can regain their firearms licences.

The applicants seeking to regain their firearms and licences are David Winzer, Mal Dinsdale and Michael Oxenham.

They gave evidence at VCAT yesterday before the case was adjourned for a decision on a date to be fixed.

Two former Wangaratta police, ex-chief superintendant Doug McPhie and ex-detective sergeant Gary Thayer, also gave evidence through a video link from Wangaratta court.

Their evidence lasted more than an hour.

They told tribunal vice-president Judge Marilyn Harbison there had been no issues with the Tramps during their time as officers at Wangaratta.

Both provided statements in support of the Tramps getting their licences back.

When the hearing started on Tuesday, Tramps president Ronny Harding withdrew his bid to regain his firearms licence without giving a reason.

In 2012, nine Tramps members had their legally stored guns confiscated and their firearms licences suspended.

They sought to take legal action over the suspensions, but on the eve of an interim Supreme Court hearing at Wangaratta the police chief commissioner cancelled the licences.

Appeals by eight Tramps members went to the Firearms Appeals Committee in July with seven rejected.

Businessman Craig Norton, who resigned from the Tramps after his licence was cancelled, had his appeal upheld.

Solicitor John Suta then launched action with VCAT for Harding, Oxenham, Dinsdale and Winzer against the Firearms Appeals Committee and chief commissioner.

Mr McPhie moved to Wangaratta in 1996 as police superintendent and later was the Hume chief superintendent.

He said he had become aware of the Tramps as part of his duties and was told there was nothing to be concerned about with the group.