Bikie given bail despite serious drug trafficking charges
AN alleged Sunshine Coast bikie associate has been granted bail despite facing serious drug trafficking charges committed while on a suspended jail sentence.
Joshua Shane Carew, 30, was arrested and charged last year under the state's tough new anti-bikie laws after being caught on CCTV having a beer with four other alleged bikie members or associates at the Yandina Hotel on November 1.
Queensland Police allege the group, dubbed the Yandina Five, have strong ties with the Rebels Motorcycle Clubs at the Sunshine Coast, Hervey Bay and Beenleigh.
Carew, who has been in solitary confinement since his arrest, was granted bail on Tuesday (Jan 14) in the Brisbane Supreme Court ahead of his next court appearance in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court on March 24.
Crown Prosecutor David Meredith argued last week while Carew may not be a patched member of the Rebels it was clear he decided to associate with them, which under the tough new anti-bikie laws, was an offence.
Justice John Byrne said in his written judgement there was not a risk Carew would fail to appear at his next court date despite expressing concerns about the possibility of reoffending.
"However, there is a risk that the applicant would commit a serious drug offence if released on bail," he said.
"Neither his bail undertaking nor suspended imprisonment has deterred him from reoffending in the recent past.
"Moreover, on release, there would likely be a continuing association with his father-in-law (Michael Smith, father of co accused Stephen Michael Smith) which would increase the danger."
Justice Byrne said with the trial only 10 weeks away he believed this was insufficient time from Carew to offend.
"The applicant's anxiety not to return to solitary confinement is a substantial incentive not to commit offences," he said.
"All considered, the risk of reoffending, though real, is not unacceptable."
Premier Campbell Newman said in Cairns while he would not comment on specific cases he made no apologies for the tough conditions alleged bikies face in prison.
"Well jail is a terrible place to be. Jail is ultimately about society's punishment for people who do the wrong thing," he said.
"There is a very easy way forward for these criminal gang members.
"This is all they have to do. Leave the gangs. Leave the state. Do not peddle your drugs in Queensland. Do not create misery in our communities.
"I am over the crocodile tears frankly."
Carew was released from Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre in Brisbane late on Monday (Jan 14) on strict bail conditions including that he surrender his passport, stay away from all airports and ports, not go near the Yandina Hotel, not have any contact with two crown witnesses and reside at a designated address on the Sunshine Coast.
Furthermore, he will be required to report to Nambour Police Station each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.