Friday, 5 September 2008

Bikie jailed for six years over shooting

A Gold Coast bikie has been jailed for six-and-a-half years after shooting a rival gang member in the face, sparking a melee at a kickboxing match that caused $40,000 damage.

Shane Scott Bowden, 36 of Surfers Paradise, was this morning declared a serious violent offender by a District Court judge who described Bowden's decision to open fire in the crowd of 1800 at Carrara's Royal Pines Resort on March 18, 2006, as an act of "utter lawlessness".

Bowden, a member of the Finks motorcycle club, gunned down gang defector-turned Melbourne CBD killer Christopher Wayne Hudson, 30, after a fight broke out about 10.30pm.

The court heard Bowden had been accompanying fellow Fink, Nicholas John Forbes, 39, who attacked Hudson over claims he tried to steal a precious stone from Forbes' elderly parents to feed a drug habit.

The punch-up sparked a near riot in the resort's Grand Ballroom, where a kickboxing tournament was being televised.

Camera footage of the melee shows chairs and glasses being thrown and tables being up-ended as Finks and members of the rival Hells Angels gang clashed inside the venue.

Three people were shot and two stabbed in the incident, later dubbed the "Ballroom Blitz".

After being punched and having a chair smashed over his head by Forbes, Hudson was then shot twice by Bowden at close range, the bullets piercing his jaw and grazing his back.

He refused to give a statement to police and later went on the run to Victoria, where he murdered solicitor Brendan Keilar and shot Dutch backpacker Paul de Waard and dancer Kaera Douglas during a domestic dispute in a city street in June last year.

In sentencing Forbes and Bowden today, Judge Milton Griffin SC accepted Forbes' reasons for confronting Hudson at the kickboxing match were "real" and that the resulting melee was neither man's fault.

However, he said the degree of violence shown by the pair was "extreme".

"To use a weapon in the circumstances that you did - a gun that was fired in a public place - utterly lawless behaviour," He told Bowden, who pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding with intent to maim and discharging a firearm in public.

"You committed these offences while on parole."

Forbes was sentenced to 18 months, suspended after nine, after pleading guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm while armed and in company over the attack on Hudson.

He received a further 18 months for a "rampage of violence" committed in January this year in a Broadbeach nightclub and shopping mall in which he assaulted seven people, fracturing one man's eye socket.

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