Five friends were arrested on Sunday, Jan. 5, at a Hilton hotel in Queensland, Australia, and became the first people in that territory to be charged with breaking the new law which bans criminal gang members from meeting in a public place. The men have been friends since childhood and, according to the video displayed on news outlets, none of them appeared to be wearing any identifying club colors though law enforcement insists they are members of the Hells Angels and Comancheros.
The friends, all hailing from the territory of Victoria, appeared in a Southport court on Monday and were identified as Daniel Lovett, 30, who is alleged to be the sergeant-at-arms in the Melbourne chapter of the Hells Angels along with Bane Ajajbegovic, Kresimir Basic, Dario Halovic, and Darren Hayley. All hale from the Dandenong area in southeast Melbourne.
Their attorney, Bill Potts, is claiming that the group is paying a very high price for opting to spend their Christmas vacation along the Gold Coast. He said that the group had been on holiday with their families. "They were minding their own business, not committing any crime, threatening nobody," he said. "They made the great and brutal mistake of coming to Queensland, to the Gold Coast, for a holiday.
According to witnesses, the men had been buying their children ice creams. Police claim that the men walked down the street together and met at a hotel bar.
Hayley, 33, is an alleged Hells Angels prospect and Basic, 29, is alleged to be a member in good standing. Ajajbegovic, 30, and Halolovic, 23, are alleged to be affiliated with the Comancheros.
No pleas were entered and all five men will spend the next six weeks in jail until their next court hearing on February 17.
"Because of an act of friendship, they will now be locked down in jail for 23 hours a day in pink jumpsuits," said attorney Potts. "No television, little reading material and one hour's exercise. This is a harsh, cruel and unusual form of punishment for people presumed to be innocent."
The men are expected to plead not guilty and a trial isn't expect for at least five months; they face up to three years in jail if convicted.