These news laws watering down the burden of proof are downright scary shit. The following Age article summarises the state of play: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/n...-laws-to-hit-bikies-hard-20140809-1029ns.html Napthine plans tougher laws to hit bikies hard Date August 10, 2014 24 reading now Chris Vedelago Senior reporter for The Age View more articles from Chris Vedelago Illustration: Matt Golding. Police and judges will be handed sweeping powers to crack down on outlaw motorcycle gangs and other organised criminal enterprises under a raft of laws set to be passed by the Napthine government. Law enforcement authorities – who have struggled to use existing anti-bikie powers due to the high standard of proof demanded by the courts – are set to find it much easier to obtain orders banning OMG clubs, controlling members and seizing the proceeds of crime. But the scale of the changes is alarming civil libertarians who fear the amendments will fundamentally undermine the fairness of the justice system by stripping away long-established rights of suspects and the principle of the presumption of innocence. The Napthine government passed hardline organised crime and anti-fortification laws last year, but no bikie gang has yet been banned and police have largely failed to topple clubhouse defences. "‘The reforms we have introduced make clear that criminal bikie gangs are not above the law and that Victoria's police have strong powers to act against them,’’ Attorney-General Robert Clark said. Under the new laws, police will no longer have to meet the ‘‘beyond reasonable doubt’’ standard in court when seeking to declare an organisation a criminal enterprise, with the burden of proof reduced to a ‘‘balance of probabilities’’. Orders to control the activities of individuals and to tear down fortifications would be granted at a sharply reduced threshold, based on members committing a criminal offence punishable by five years’ jail instead of the current threshold of 10 years’ jail. This could see gangs and members declared criminal organisations and subjected to control orders for committing a common assault or even potentially for some non-violent offences. The laws – if they had been in place in 2010 – could have seen the Bandidos declared a criminal organisation when then serjeant-at-arms Toby Mitchell and two associates started a wild brawl in a King Street strip club. The government is also seeking to decimate club recruitment and membership by ensuring that individuals in declared criminal organisations will now be permanently branded as gang members, regardless of whether or not they quit. If at least two members from a declared organisation join another gang, that group would be automatically considered to be a criminal enterprise under the new legislation. This provision is an attempt to halt ‘‘patching over’’, which sees one club absorbed by another as occurred with the Mongols and Finks last year. The sweeping laws have been branded a political stunt by some critics who claim the government is targeting bikies to boost its law-and-order credentials ahead of the election. ‘‘You don’t get a patch on your back just to go out there and commit crimes, which is what all this seems to assume,’’ one senior club member told The Sunday Age. ‘‘We might be the first cab off the rank, but what people don’t realise is these laws could effect everybody.’’ Concerns that the legislation doesn’t specifically define what type of ‘‘organisation’’ can be declared a criminal enterprise were flagged by Labor MP Martin Pakula in Parliament last week. But the opposition has pledged to support the bill. ‘‘The opposition is satisfied by the undertakings provided by the government that organisations not intended to be covered by the supposed outlaw motorcycle gang provision will not become subject to it almost by default,’’ Mr Pakula said. But civil libertarians worry that the laws set a dangerous precedent and represent another regressive step towards winding back or suppressing established human rights by the state government. ‘‘This is a disturbing trend in Australian law, the idea that police ought to be able to more easily make their cases,’’ said Greg Barns of the Australian Lawyers Alliance. "The police have obviously said ‘This is all too hard’ and the government has rolled over. Mr Barns said the "beyond reasonable doubt" test protected innocent people from draconian government actions. "The 'balance of probabilities' is something you’d use in a civil claim in a dispute against a tradie.’’ firstname.lastname@example.org = = = = = = The way that reads, if a knitting or tennis club was joined by two ex-members of a declared organisation that the club would be declared criminal? This has potential huge problems for any club - how can the club be certain of a new member's past? What a farce. If the available evidence hasn't been sufficient to prove a declaration, what does that tell you? Double farce.