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Injustices turn voters against VLAD Act

Sally Kuether
Librarian Sally Kuether jailed for having a beer with two "bikies"

The tide is turning against the VLAD Act in the wake of recent events such as the six-day jailing of a woman for having a beer with “bikies” while two police officers were granted immediate bail over rape charges. Is it any wonder the Queensland Government now finds its majority waning and that it could lose up to 30 seats in an election?

A Galaxy poll has found the number of Queenslanders opposed to the anti-association laws has climbed from 37% to 45% in three months while those in favour dropped from 56 to 48%. Premier Campbell Newman will no longer be able to say he is acting for the majority when the poll shows that those who think the laws are too tough have leapt from 41 to 50%.

It is surprising it isn’t even higher given the recent case of Sally Kuether, arrested and jailed for six days after having a beer with her partner and a friend who are members of the Life and Death Motorcycle Club. It is believed the Queensland Police sifted through CCTV footage before arresting the Brisbane librarian and mother of three. Though not a member of the club, Sally was charged as an associate under strict laws that do not permit three or more members of 26 listed clubs to be in public together. Any club or organisation could be added to that list at any time at the whim of politicians.

Queensland Police cap badge
“With honour we serve”

On her release from jail on bail, Sally asked, “I can’t see what I’ve done wrong. All I did was have a beer with my partner and my mate,” she says. “How is that wrong? I’ve never committed any crime in my life ever before. I’m an upstanding citizen, what can I say?’’ Her six-day wait for bail is in stark contrast to the two north Queensland police officers who were granted bail immediately after facing court charged with raping a woman while they were on duty in Mackay.

If found to be an associate of a listed organisation under the VLAD Act, Sally faces at least six months in jail in solitary confinement for 22 hours a day. The definition of “associate” has not yet been outlined by the government nor the Police Commissioner. Rather than the State prove that Sally is guilty, she will be required to prove that she is innocent, reversing the onus of proof.

Kim Peart, an activist against the VLAD Act, says solitary confinement is “an acknowledged form of torture, which can drive a prisoner mad and result in the need for medication, turning them into a zombie, so they can cope”.

  1. If the librarian is uncertain what she has been accused of then perhaps reading the charge sheet might help … you do not need to be a patched member of an OMCG to be considered a participant under the meaning of the act nor are females exempt from being charged with criminal offences. If I had my way I’d charge her with a ‘crime against women’ for wearing a ‘property of’ rocker … are these bogans living in the dark ages?
    I also am astounded at the lack of censure of her partner considering his history of convictions for sexual assault … where is the outrage???
    There is also no reversal of the burden of proof for a crime but there is an increased responsibility on the part of the defendant to prove reliability in the application for bail prior to trial.

    1. ‘Crime against women’? Did you read the bit about the 2 police officers raping a WOMAN?! So rape is acceptable to you but it is a ‘crime’ for a person to wear what they choose?

    2. So you think it’s okay to put someone in solitary confinement for six months just for being in a group of 3 in public with someone from a certain club? And if you had your way you would charge someone for wearing a ‘ property of…’ patch simply because you don’t like it? Put yourself in that person’s position and think about how unjust that would be. And btw I don’t like bikies, but these laws are a travesty on justice.

    3. Why do you care if she wears a “property of” you know nothing of their relationship, and where is your proof of his sexual offences? “Crimes against women” – for what being happy and in a relationship not sanctioned by yourself?? You seem to be outraged at her perceived subservience but not outraged she was arrested for association. clearly a breach of civil rights. I would also like to add that only one of the men is a member of the so called criminal group Life an Death, the other is a decorated soldier who belongs to a group of service men not listed on Newman’s so called criminal gangs list. Therefore the charges are not correct.

    4. For you to say that means you have got no idea. Just an inflated opinion of your own morality! Until you have an understanding keep your opinion to yourself… And if you don’t want to understand then keep your opinion to yourself anyway. Personal choice and freedom of rights is not a crime against anyone, the whys omeone does a thing is not the issue.

      1. Personal choice and freedom must also include freedom of expression, so telling someone to keep their opinion to themselves is clearly an assault against personal freedom.

  2. The trouble is there still isn’t an alternate government. The current ALP isn’t even a viable opposition, let alone a viable government.

  3. Good story Mark.

    It is still scary how many people do not understand how corrosive these laws are to the fundamentals of our society – the right to the presumption of innocence, equality before the law, the state’s onus of proof, freedom of expression, punishment commensurate with the crime.

  4. Jude,

    So a perceived sin against feminism unjustly goes unpunished, whilst being ‘associated’ with prescribed persons is OK for arbitrary punishment – all she has to do is read the charge sheet.

    The point she makes is that she has done nothing wrong, but what she did was unlawful. There is, as far as I am aware, no evidence of harm she or her partner, who you are so quick to condemn for reports of past offences for which he has presumably been punished, have done to harm society or any individual. Yet she is incarcerated for 6 days.

    And if you think the accused bearing the onus of proof to show why he or she should not remain in prison on remand is not a dangerous reversal of the criminal onus of proof, I suggest you do not understand the principle that the state bears the onus of proving allegations of criminal conduct. No other bail applicant has to prove that he or she is ‘reliable’. The state must prove, to a relatively low standard, why the accused should be refused bail; i.e. except when vandals of civilised society like Newman and Bleijie intervene with legislation commonly the hallmark of fascist and totalitarian regimes.

    Get a grip girl.

  5. Step by step the people the premier says he represents (“the community” from which we all seem to be exiled) are turning against him and his government as the understanding that these laws could be applied to anyone at all, sinks in. Small steps will get us there, all of us taking one small step forward per day will get us there. Persistance and tenacity are powerful virtues often not appreciated enough these days.

    1. The commissioner has stated quite clearly that you DO NOT have to be a serving or former member of any bikie gang to be covered by the laws. Section 4, (c) & (d) of the VLAD says quite clearly that you only have to have attended one or more events of gatherings of members IN ANY WAY, and you are automatically guilty by association. And then it’s up to YOU to prove your innocence while the police can happily sit back and do, literally, nothing more towards the case, as the wording of the new legislation and laws means you are guilty until YOU can manage to prove innocence. Nice.

  6. Must make the whole legal process so much easier when police can just arrest someone for merely being SEEN WITH someone else in public, and then force the accused to PROVE THEIR INNOCENCE, rather than the messy and time consuming process of police having to actually do investigative work and prove someone guilty. Well done, to the Queensland government, for streamlining the whole process so efficiently. I mean, imagine … police can just accuse someone of anything under the VLAD legislation and associated laws, whether they have a criminal record or not or even if they’ve never been a member of a club, and the accused has to then somehow organise a defence and prove their innocence from a solitary cell! Reversing the ancient and long held legal rule of “innocent until proven guilty”? That’s an awesome idea!! I can’t see any possible way that could backfire in future and be modified slightly (as the VLAD has been “modified” a couple of times already) and be used against anyone else except those filthy bikies …


    This is what we are dealing with…rape is taken as “no biggie”, with a policewoman who convinced a woman to withdraw a rape report getting no action against her, and two officers getting immediate bail (on full pay) for raping a woman while on duty.
    And they want respect for laws which mean someone having a drink with friends is automatically guilty and jailed until they can prove thier innocence?
    Yeah right.

  8. Jude, read and re-read your comment and am puzzled by your complete lack of understanding of what’s going on. The preceding answers to your comment just about cover my thoughts towards yours.

  9. So Jude, you are more concerned that she had a Tshirt on that said ‘property of..??’ I feel sad for you, if that is your main concern. I am a feminist, did my hard yards back in the 1970’s and if that’s a shirt she wants to wear, that’s her perogative. You obviously are more concerned as a ‘fashion police’ or a ‘bogan expert’ than in the fact that the laws that have been made take away our basic HUMAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS. The onus is on the accused to prove their innocence, no longer do we have ‘innocent until proven guilty’ unless you are a member of the Qld Police Force in which case it’s double standards for them. If you are a police officer, you are presumed innocent, given bail after raping a woman and on full pay…..and YOUR main concern was a Tshirt….Hey Jude!

    1. Right with you Juanita! I was incensed when I read about the Mackay police officers on bail for rape, on full pay, whilst other people in Queensland are thrown into solitary confinement for having a beer with a mate (or two) in public? The news report I saw said one officer drove whilst the other raped & and that’s not a HUGE crime against humanity?

      I personally don’t agree with the wording on the ladies T-shirt, but didn’t notice until it was pointed out as a perceived personality flaw of the wearer, I was way too busy being angry at the total dictatorship of Queensland and this express situation.

      I notice there was nowhere to leave comment on any of the newspaper sites in protest. One can only assume rapist are more than welcome in Queensland, but not a person who may or may not be a bikie.

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