Bikies in ‘tribal war’: Newcastle chapters of the Finks and Nomads

DAYS after he was given a summons by police to attend court this month, Nomads member James Quinnell opened up his phone and recorded a video.

“All you f---ing Fink dogs, you f---ing maggot scumbag pieces of f---ing shit, bring it on ya f---ing dogs, youse are nothing but f---ing Fink dogs ay,” a fired-up Quinnell said, in a performance posted to Instagram.

It was the latest salvo in 12 months of "open warfare" between the Newcastle chapters of the Finks and the Nomads, who police allege are locked in an escalating turf war that has led to physical fights, shootings and arson attacks.

On Thursday, the video was played in the Supreme Court in Sydney, as police sought to urgently impose strict conditions on Quinnell, the sergeant-at-arms of the Newcastle chapter, fellow Nomad Blake Kevin Martin, and senior Nomads Bradley Bowtell, Dylan Patrick Britliffe, and Kane Benjamin Tamplin.

In documents tendered to the court, police from Strike Force Raptor, part of the police gangs squad, said the conflict between the Nomads and the Finks had been "ongoing and escalating" since October 2016, when a close associate of Martin and Tamplin defected to the Finks. However, the conflict has ramped up in the last three months, with police now describing it as an “emergency” in which “the next shooting is imminent”.

Police tendered to the court a long list of incidents between the Finks and the Nomads, ranging from the trivial – a Fink and a Nomad both going to the same barbershop and having a fight outside – to firebombings on buildings with people inside and homes being sprayed with bullets by high-powered weapons.

In the most recent incident on March 3, the Thornton home of a Finks member was shot at multiple times, with one bullet hitting a man in the leg as he jumped up from a couch inside. Such incidents have now escalated to the point where there are three attacks per week. In response, police have sought to impose a "serious crime prevention order" on the five men, the first application of its kind brought to court in NSW.

If the application is successful, the men would be banned from contacting any member of any motorcycle gang; attending any licensed hotel, pub, club or bar; travelling in any vehicle from 9pm to 6am; going to any location where any motorcycle gang member would be; and using encrypted communications like Wickr, Snapchat or WhatsApp.

They will also be restricted from owning more than one mobile phone, must produce their phone and passwords to police upon request, and will not be allowed to wear or display any Nomads insignia or patches.

Mark Tedeschi QC, representing the police, said officers were seeking "identical" orders against five members of the Finks. He unsuccessfully requested to get the Nomads orders in place immediately to "provide a degree of protection to the public over the Easter long weekend".

“We are speaking here about tribal warfare in the midst of our civilised society," Mr Tedeschi said. “It’s intolerable that this open warfare should be allowed to flourish.”

Barrister Robert Cavanagh, representing the men, said the "punishing" and "shackling" conditions were "inhuman" and would cause some of the men who did shiftwork to put their jobs in jeopardy.

RESTRICTIONS: Bradley Bowtell after giving evidence.

RESTRICTIONS: Bradley Bowtell after giving evidence.

"There is, in my respectful submission, no urgency whatsoever to protect the public from these defendants," Dr Cavanagh said. "They come before you showing respect. That’s not an outlaw gang mentality."

All five men denied there was a war with the Finks, however Justice David Davies labelled parts of their evidence – including that they didn't know the rules of their own club – "frankly unbelievable".

Mr Bowtell, the president of the Newcastle City chapter of the Nomads, said he met frequently with police, including most recently on March 20 where he said he would "try and assist" with stopping the violence. Under cross-examination, he said he did not think it was in his power to stop the conflict.

"In my opinion it was more of the Finks attacking us," Bowtell said.

Martin, a junior member of the club, admitted he had attacked a member of the Finks with Quinnell at the Anytime Fitness gym in Kotara last year. He plead guilty to affray. 

He denied there was "open warfare", saying it is just a "disagreement".

Justice Davies said he needed to consider the application and reserved his decision.

'NO OUTLAW MENTALITY': Kane Benjamin Tamplin.

'NO OUTLAW MENTALITY': Kane Benjamin Tamplin.

The Sydney Morning Herald

This story Bikies in ‘tribal war’: Newcastle chapters of the Finks and Nomads first appeared on Newcastle Herald.