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Butcher started to follow mob

Australia - It was supposed to be a meeting with other motorcycle club members to discuss impending anti-association legislation.

But Michael Oxenham, a Wangaratta butcher who says he needs his gun licence for his mobile butchery, soon found himself among about 200 bikies walking towards a rival clubhouse, the Firearms Appeals Committee heard yesterday.

Mr Oxenham is one of nine members and former members of the Tramps, the smallest motorcycle club in Victoria, based in Wangaratta, who are appealing against Victoria Police's decision to cancel their firearms licences.

The group of about 200 bikies had met at the Satans Soldiers clubhouse at the direction of the Hells Angels and were walking to the nearby clubhouse of the Diablos, who are associated with the Bandidos. The Hells Angels and Bandidos are rival clubs, the committee heard.

Police allege the Hells Angels group forced their rivals against the wall of the Diablos clubhouse and removed their driver's licences before photographing them.

Bandidos serjeant-at-arms Toby Mitchell arrived about 30 minutes later and was shot as the group let off more than 30 rounds.

Mr Oxenham said on March 1, the night Mitchell was ambushed, he had driven from Wangaratta to attend the meeting of bikie clubs at the request of Tramps president Ronny Harding.

Mr Oxenham said when he left his car he noticed the group walking away from Satans Soldiers' clubhouse and assumed they were holding the meeting at a new venue.

He was about 40 metres from the Diablos clubhouse when he realised a "run through" was to take place and returned to the Satans Soldiers clubhouse where he bought a beer and waited for the other Tramps, who he had not seen during the walk.

He said he had not seen any bikies against the wall of the Diablos clubhouse being frisked for their licences or heard any shots but said he had heard "angry" voices.

"I was being a sticky beak because I thought we were going to another venue (for the meeting)," Mr Oxenham said.

"I didn't want to get involved in anything.

"It's not for us, we came down to have a meeting. See your ad here

"We don't do that sort of thing."

Mr Oxenham said he had noticed members of the Vikings, Immortals, Red Devils, Hells Angels and Hells Angels Nomads chapter at the meeting because they were wearing colours, but many were not wearing colours.

Craig Norton, who has resigned as a member of the Tramps, and was not at the March meeting, is the owner of a Wangaratta camping and hunting store.

He told the committee his livelihood and that of his employees would be in jeopardy if his firearms licence was not returned and he had done a significant amount of community work individually and as a member of the Tramps.




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