TEST CASE: Hells Angel Steffen, who has no criminal convictions, will challenge Queensland’s bikie laws in the High Court. Source: Facebook
MEET the “straw man” Queensland bikies are banking on in a high-stakes bid to knock down the Newman Government’s criminal gang laws.
The Courier-Mail can reveal that Hells Angels tattooist “Steffen” will be the face of a High Court challenge by peak body the United Motorcycle Council.
Legal sources said the Poland-born bikie – who is believed to have no businesses, properties or major assets – is a “smart” choice for legal action that could cost the loser up to $500,000.
The tattooist has no recorded criminal convictions but is barred from working in his former home state of NSW under laws banning bikies from the industry there from last year.
He has not been arrested for any crime under Queensland’s bikie crackdown but risks being again banned from the profession here when similar laws come into effect in July.
The bikie is one of only four known card-carrying Hells Angels in Queensland.
Steffen, who settled in Australia after his family fled communist Poland, is understood to have been a Hells Angel for about five years.
A legal source said the UMC was “effectively putting up a straw man” for a case in which the State Government was “highly likely” to seek to recover legal costs if the bid failed. As a “straw man” with few assets, Steffen would have little to lose.
It is understood the UMC, which is funding the challenge with the help of public donations, including some from union sources, is poised to lodge its challenge next week.
The UMC’s legal team includes Ken Fleming QC, who helped Dr Jayant Patel successfully defend a manslaughter charge in 2013, and barrister Wayne Baffsky, who helped a NSW Hells Angel vanquish similar anti-gang laws in 2011.
Mr Baffsky said all court cases involving the new laws – including arrests under anti-association laws – would likely be postponed until the High Court case was decided.
Members of the Finks club still have an unpaid costs order hanging over them after their unsuccessful High Court challenge to the previous Queensland government’s criminal organisation laws last year.
It is not clear if the order will be enforced, as the club no longer officially exists in Australia after most members joined the Mongols.