Rockhampton solicitor Doug Winning
Rockhampton solicitor Doug Winning

Online readers rage at local bikie's fate in gangs crackdown

WHEN Rockhampton's most infamous bikie was jailed for producing and trafficking drugs in 2008, no one could have predicted that only five years later some in the community would rally behind him.

Numerous Morning Bulletin readers have expressed outrage that James Thomas O'Brien has been placed in solitary confinement for being a bikie, under new legislation.

Jimmy O'Brien's solicitor says it seems likely that is where the former senior member of the Rebels motorcycle gang is to stay.

Doug Winning said he understood from speaking with O'Brien's family that O'Brien, along with other jailed bikies, would soon be transferred to Woodford Correctional Centre.

Premier Campbell Newman last month revealed plans for a "super jail" - a bikie-only prison within Woodford.

Mr Newman said those imprisoned in the maximum security facility would face an unprecedented level of monitoring and as little as one hour a day out of their cells. But Mr Winning said they had to wait until the prison got its recent measles outbreak under control.

Mr Newman flagged increased drug testing and cell searches, no TVs or gyms, and only one-hour non-contact visits with family each week in store for jailed bikies. Mr Winning accused the Newman government of "extremist politics" that were repelling many people in Rockhampton and, ultimately, Australia.

"That sort of thing might resonate with the village idiot," he said. "But in thinking Australia it's not just laughable, it's comical. The whole concept of justice is that it acts independently of the government."



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