Steven Smith and Scott Conley leave the Brisbane Magistrates Court in Brisbane.
Steven Smith and Scott Conley leave the Brisbane Magistrates Court in Brisbane. AAP/GLENN HUNT

Yandina Seven: 'It shouldn't be a crime to have a beer'

FREE at last, one member of the so-called Yandina Seven will celebrate with a family feast - but not a drink at the hotel his group is named after.

Sunshine Coast man Steven Michael Smith and his half brother Scott Michael Conley appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Friday after a previous Maroochydore appearance.

Supporters gasped with relief and applauded as the pair were found not guilty, four years after meeting at the Yandina Hotel, then facing charges under the contentious VLAD laws.

"I knew all along at the end of the day we did nothing wrong," Mr Conley said after his acquittal.

"[I'm] just happy it's all over now. Four years is a long time for not just me, but my family and kids," Mr Conley added.

The men were charged with participating in a criminal organisation and being knowingly present in public places with two or more criminal organisation participants.

"It shouldn't be a bloody crime to have a beer, especially with your brother in a pub. It's something everyday Australians do every single day."

He said he wanted to get on with his life and focus on the future after a "horrendous" four years.

"I missed out on job opportunities. I split up with my fiancee.

This whole suite of laws was a load of crap, it should never have been introduced," he added.

"I'm still pissed off that I was obviously ever arrested and charged, but life's too short you can't dwell on these things."

He said his son had to change schools twice because of bullying.

But despite copping some abuse, the family also had many messages of support, Mr Conley said.

"Lots of haters, but more supporters than haters."

Mr Conley and his family would celebrate with a "big feed" and a few drinks.

"No beers at the Yandina pub though," he quipped.

Magistrate Hennessy accepted that Mr Conley had taken steps to disassociate himself from the Rebels Motorcycle Club.

Mr Conley was "a nominee" of the Rebels until his resignation in July 2013, the magistrate said.

Defence barrister Rob Butler said there was no evidence Mr Conley, or any other men meeting at the hotel wore Rebels attire on November 1, 2013.

There was also no evidence the men arrived at the Yandina Hotel by motorcycle, Mr Butler said in his outline of submissions.

Paul Jeffery Lansdowne, who has been in custody, and Dan Whale had their cases adjourned to November 24.

Joshua Shane Carew, Eric Ferdinand Fehlhaber, and Patrick Francis Moloney also met at the Yandina Hotel.

Mr Carew was Mr Smith's brother in law.

The seven were initially charged under the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act for being alleged participants in a bikie club meeting in a group of more than two people.

In 2013, Smith was sentenced to three years jail for picking up an order for more than $27,000 of cocaine.

Aged 27 at the time, his sentence was fully suspended thanks to rehabilitation efforts he made as he awaited sentencing.


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