The Australian Federal Police Association (AFPA) have stated their support of introducing anti-consorting laws in the Territory.
The Canberra Liberals renewed their push for the laws this week, following the violent death of the Canberra Comancheros leader at Kokomo’s nightclub in the early hours of Sunday morning (19 July).
Anti-consorting laws make it an offence to affiliate with habitual criminals in public, private or online.
AFPA Media & Government Relations Manager, Troy Roberts, said the association has always shown its support of the laws, on the condition there are precautions put in place to protect human rights.
“We have been on the public record for a while now supporting this legislation, and we know that the ACT Government is resistant in introducing anti-consorting legislation based on human rights and experiences with the law in other jurisdictions,” he said.
“The AFPA believes that appropriate safeguards could be implemented into the legislation that would alleviate concerns about misuse of the legislation and human rights.”
Mr Roberts said a ‘first notice anti-consorting’ notification, issued by a high-level police officer and enforceable for 96 hours, would be vital in allowing a person time to seek legal representation in a consorting matter.
Anti-consorting legislation was tabled in February last year but was voted against by both ACT Greens and Labor.
“The ACT Government has done a good job in introducing ‘second-tier’ legislation such as anti-fortification and crime scene laws, which assists ACT Policing and Taskforce Nemesis to tackle outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCG) in the ACT,” Mr Roberts said.
“They have also provided ongoing funding towards Taskforce Nemesis who have done excellent work on the ground disrupting OMCG and organised crime activity.”
ACT Policing also said anti-consorting legislation was a matter for ACT Government and that the force had already succeeded in decreasing the number of OMCG members in the Territory.
“Due to the targeted efforts of ACT Policing generally, and Taskforce Nemesis specifically, the overall number of OMCG members active in the ACT has decreased significantly in recent years,” an ACT Policing spokesperson said.
“The total number of members associated with ACT chapters of these Criminal Motorcycle Gangs is estimated at approximately 30-40 people.
“This is a decrease from the previously reported numbers of approximately 70 members in 2018-19. This is a result of members being imprisoned, deported or fleeing interstate.”
Investigation ongoing into death at Kokomo’s
Detective Superintendent Scott Moller confirmed ACT Policing’s ongoing investigation into the death of Canberra Comancheros leader Pitasoni Ulavalu over the weekend.
Police were called to the nightclub at 12.05am on Sunday morning, 19 July, after a disturbance inside the venue.
Mr Ulavalu later died at the scene.
Det. Moller urged the public to come forward with any footage or information and confirmed no charges had been laid.
“This is a very complex investigation and we are working through those details at the moment,” he said.
“There is a detailed amount of information we have to go through until any charges are laid.”
Det. Moller confirmed the cause of death as a stab wound but declined to comment on any further information or if any other OMCGs were involved.
For more stories: