Filthy Few charges thrown out

By Amy McGillivray

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Charges against the Filthy Few Motorcycle Club have been dismissed on a technicality.

The club yesterday defended allegations that it set up an illegal bar at its headquarters a day before it was due to hold its annual Metal Mania event in February.

Police allege the club operated an unlicensed premises and allowed its premises to be used for the consumption of liquor.

Officer in charge of the case Detective Sergeant Rob Lemoto said Judge Philip Connell ruled that a technical matter meant he could not prosecute the club based on the evidence put before him during the half-day hearing in the Tauranga District Court.

Mr Lemoto said the defence for the Tauranga chapter of the Filthy Few argued police had not proven the club was an incorporated society and the judge agreed.

"We're disappointed to say the least. Clearly that was never the point in issue," Mr Lemoto said. "To me it's quite clear that they had a substantial amount of alcohol and it was only there for one reason but we respect the decision of the court."

Western Bay alcohol harm-reduction officer Sergeant Nigel McGlone said Judge Connell explained that his ruling was based on a number of factors.

"We hadn't proved that they were an incorporated society. He wasn't satisfied we proved to the standard, that is beyond reasonable doubt, that they were using the clubroom as a place of resort and that the alcohol was for sale."

The club maintained the alcohol on the property was intended to be handed out as gifts and not sold.

The charges follow an armed police raid of the club's Birch Ave headquarters on February 17 when police seized a large quantity of alcohol.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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