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wild brawl at Cooly Rocks On festival walk free from court

Published in 1%er News and All News

The war on bikies has moved to the New South Wales border where a joint police operation has crippled outlaw gangs in the region

FIVE former Finks bikies charged over a wild brawl at a Gold Coast festival have walked free from court with fines and community service.

Clint Harris, Leslie Andrew Markham, Billy Raymond Thomas, Grant Gavin, Clarence Joseph Kercher and Martin Hannken pleaded guilty to affray over the melee at the Cooly Rocks On nostalgia festival at Coolangatta last June, several months before Queensland’s tough anti-bikie laws came in.

A 61-year-old festival patron was assaulted and a classic car damaged during the clash between 14 Finks and Nomads bikies outside a beachfront cafe.

Southport Magistrates Court heard frightened members of the public were forced to take cover as the brawling bikies wrestled over classic cars and bashed each other with furniture.

Prosecutor Trudi Jobberns told the court the injured festival patron needed hospital treatment.

She said the brawl lasted just 30 seconds but caused public ‘alarm and fear’.

Ms Jobberns said former NRL player turned Finks bikie Anthony Watts was the ‘main offender’ in the brawl and had already been sentenced to community service, which he had breached.

Nomads bikie associate Jacob Little was charged with assaulting the patron and was being prosecuted separately.

Defence lawyer Michael Gatenby said Harris was remorseful and wanted to apologise to the public for his behaviour.

Mark Williams, another lawyer who acted for Thomas, Markham and Kercher, said his clients were on the ‘periphery’ of the brawl.

Chief Magistrate Ron Kilner said affray incidents had become more prevalent on the Gold Coast and were causing ‘distress and alarm’ to the public.

But he said he was ‘constrained’ by the sentence of 120 hours community service given to Watts.

Thomas and Harris were sentenced to 100 and 90 hours of community service respectively.

Gavin was fined $1500, Markham and Kercher $500 each and Hannken $300.

Watts, who is in custody over another melee at a Broadbeach restaurant last month, was due to apply for bail today but the case was adjourned until Tuesday.

Writer: Greg Stolz