Lawyers back magistrate on bikie's charity work

THE Sunshine Coast Law Society has reiterated its support for a Maroochydore magistrate who again allowed an accused bikie to walk free from court.

The society's president, John Watson, said the judiciary must not be influenced by the Newman Government's bikie crackdown.

>> Exclusive survey shows Queenslanders aren't fooled by new bikie laws

On Wednesday, Magistrate Bernadette Callaghan spared alleged Rebel Lorne James Campbell jail time after he pleaded guilty to possessing more than $8000 in tainted money.

Ms Callaghan took into account the 33-year-old's charity donations, saying "the community is better served" by his release.

Last month Ms Callaghan granted Campbell bail after ruling police could not prove he was a bikie gang member.

Premier Campbell Newman is optimistic of an appeal.

But Mr Watson said the judiciary should not be pressured into compromising its independence.

He said the legal fraternity was "all at one on that".

"We're hopeful the judiciary will remain independent, because that's what we all believe is the best system - that's how democracy works," he said.

"And that's what all the other prominent lawyers have come out and said, including the Queensland Law Society."



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