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Thursday, 18 March 2010

ordered a Hells Angels gang member to hand in his patch to be destroyed after finding that the man had illegally worn it in public.

Hastings Hells Angels member Bryan Vincent Moore had pleaded not guilty to a wearing a T-shirt with the words "Hells Angels MC Hastings" in Bell St, Whanganui last September.

Anti-gang patch supporter Mayor Michael Laws said the court decision was "one up for the good guys". The decision upheld the council's bylaw, he said. "The Whanganui community wanted this law, Parliament obliged, and now the courts have upheld it. This is something of a rejoinder to those council critics who argued that our bylaw wouldn't survive a judicial test." Under the Wanganui District Council (Prohibition of Gang Insignia) Act 2009 section 12, it is illegal to display gang insignia without reasonable excuse. Moore's lawyer said the bylaw had no geographical boundaries, was unreasonable and limited freedom of expression.
In a reserved decision yesterday, Judge Peter Butler found the defendant guilty. As it was a test case, a fine was not warranted, he said. Moore was convicted and ordered to forfeit his gang patch for destruction.

The council and police are currently seeking a court order to dismantle gang fortifications at the Hells Angels address in Whanganui.

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