Blair Raymond Thomsen pleaded guilty to extortion but appealed against the sentence.
Blair Raymond Thomsen pleaded guilty to extortion but appealed against the sentence. Stuart Cumming

An 'invitation' from bikies Harley owner didn't want

IT WAS an invitation the former Bandidos member was not keen to take up.

Stephen John Chambers had left the motorcycle club in 2012, citing health reasons.

Queensland Court of Appeal said it wasn't long before Chambers received an "invitation" to attend a clubhouse meeting.

Chambers declined.

But soon after, another request was more persuasive.

A Caloundra club secretary insisted Chambers come around, saying club members would go to his home if he did not.

Justice Robert Gotterson said Chambers knew if members came to his house, "violence and damage would likely ensue".

Chambers, who had a Harley-Davidson, went to the club and met members including former Bandidos president Blair Raymond Thomsen.

Justice Gotterson said the atmosphere turned dark when Thomsen told Chambers: "Sprogg, we're taking your f***ing bike."

Thomsen said this was because Chambers was demoted to a prospect for 12 weeks for "disrespecting the president".

Justice Gotterson said Chambers knew if he refused, he'd provoke "physical violence from some, if not all, of the members present."

The appeal court said another club member, Ricky Wayne McDougal, drove Chambers home and loaded the Harley onto a trailer.

"The complainant never saw his motorcycle again," Justice Gotterson added.

Thomsen later pleaded guilty to extortion, was jailed for 45 months, but appealed his sentence in June.

Thomsen's barrister, Mark McCarthy, said the case involved people who were arguably "willing participants" in an environment of normalised violence.

He said that context was important, "just as violence on the rugby league field" was treated differently from similar off-field violence.

The appeal court dismissed Thomsen's case on June 19 but published its reasons on Tuesday.

"The offending was not less serious than offending against non-club members, on account of the prevailing culture," Justice Gotterson said.

It would be wrong for courts to view extortion "as less serious in societal environments with a prevailing culture of violence," the judge added.

To do so would imply condoning violence within groups such as the Bandidos, he said.

The appeal court said Thomsen was expected to be released from jail on December 4.

- NewsRegional