The NSW Police officer in charge of a specialist gang squad that used powers of entry under liquor licensing laws to raid a charity bike show at Albion Park last year has admitted he never even spoke to the holder of the liquor licence on the day.
Officers attached to the state's crack outlaw motorcycle gang squad Strike Force Raptor have been accused in court of "flagrantly misusing" their police powers during a raid on the Fourth Reich Motorcycle Club’s annual Custom Bike and Tattoo Show family open day last October.
Illawarra man Peter Busuttil was arrested at the event and charged over allegations he forcefully pushed the squad’s top cop, Detective Inspector Darren Beeche, in the chest as he tried to enter the club grounds. Busuttil denies the allegations.
Insp Beeche was repeatedly questioned in Wollongong court on Wednesday about the Strike Force’s purpose for being at the October 10 event. Each time he insisted police were there solely to check liquor licensing laws were being complied with.
Questioned: Strike Force Raptor boss Insp Darren Beeche was grilled about why his squad was at the charity event.
However, under cross examination from defence barrister Winston Terracini, SC, Insp Beeche conceded he’d never spoken to the licensee on the day, nor had he sought to find out who that person was or asked for any documents to be produced.
He confirmed “a number of individuals were charged” for breaching liquors laws, however was unable to say how many. He also said he didn’t know if the licensee was given a warning about those breaches.
He said the only person he approached was the Four Reich president – who he agreed had no control over the liquor license.
“Targetting the liquor act breaches was just a ruse – you went there to cause trouble,” Mr Terracini said.
“This was a deliberate attempt to cause problems..to create a tense situation so [police] could abuse their powers.”
“No,” Insp Beeche replied.
The court also heard allegations that police made threats to members of the public against “consorting” with Fourth Reich members or they would face charges, and even handed out a piece of paper containing photographs of those who should be avoided.
However, Insp Beeche said the papers were not handed out to member of the public but only to “other members of the Fourth Reich or other gang members”.
The remainder of the case will be heard across two days in January.