Thursday, September 14, 2023

Hells Angels MC Banned from Ponde Compound

South Australia (September 14, 2023) - Hells Angels members will be barred from a regular meeting place after state parliament passed a law designating the property a prescribed place. The Ponde compound, about 100km east of Adelaide, was home to a rock music festival until 2002 but will now be off bounds to club members after the government's latest move to block its use by the bikie gang.

"We do not want to see outlaw motorcycle gangs getting a hold back in South Australia," Attorney-General Kyam Maher told reporters on Thursday. "We will do everything that is in our power to make South Australians safer and that includes changing the law very quickly when we need to."

The High Court in August invalidated an attempt by the previous Liberal government to ban the bikies from Ponde, but Mr Maher was adamant his law would face no such obstacles as it amended the legislation itself and was not just a regulation. "What we've done through the passage of this legislation in parliament, is to make it as bulletproof as possible," he said.

The declaration of the site as a prescribed place means any members of a listed criminal organisation cannot visit. But the Law Society of South Australia criticised the bill, arguing it was based on a flawed regime. In a submission to Mr Maher, the society's president James Marsh said the law increased the risk that individuals could have their property unjustly confiscated.

"The society queries the justification in abrogating any citizen's right to procedural fairness," he wrote. Mr Maher said the society's representations "fell on deaf ears." "We will do absolutely everything we can to make sure bikies have as little influence in this state as possible," he said.

In 2019, police found a burnt-out car on the property that had been linked to a bashing murder. At one stage the government tried to seize the land as a criminal asset but later dropped that bid.