(NZ) Hell’s Angels rev up battle against ban

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Jul 302010

Hell’s Angels are taking their fight to repeal Wanganui’s [club] patch ban to the high court but police claim the ban has cleaned up the city.

In the nine months since the ban came into force , wearing [club] patches in the city has resulted in 13 people being prosecuted.

The motorcycle [club] claims the law breaches the Bill of Rights and before the bylaw was introduced last September, the Hell’s Angels unsuccessfully lobbied the council to stop the ban from going ahead.

They have filed a high court claim to repeal the bylaw after being turned down by the district court.

“The application is about whether or not the council had the power to pass the bylaw,” the [club]’s lawyer Steven Rollo said.

Wanganui’s Mayor, Michael Laws, said the law is hurting the [club]s and they’ll try anything to get it overturned.

And the mayor has police figures on his side. A police report says that between March 2009 and March 2010 the number of [club] members in the city has fallen by 15%.

And police say that thanks to the ban, the [club] presence is less noticeable, there has been less intimidation for the community and fewer confrontations between [club]s.

But the police chief responsible for putting out the report said while the ban had helped, good policing and strong anti-[club] operations that have put members in jail or driven them out of town have also played a significant role.

A date for the hearing is yet to be set.