After a four-year-long legal battle, a Sydney, Australia judge ruled Friday that police can search a Gypsy Joker Motorcycle Club clubhouse in Horsley Park, about 25 miles west of the city, whenever they want without warning and without a warrant.
New South Wales Police argued the clubhouse was a place of “indecent conduct and entertainment of a demoralizing character.”
Police interest in the clubhouse intensified in 2014 after detectives rescued a brown alpaca named Clio from alleged sex slavery. After acting on a tip, police claimed members of the chapter had sexual intercourse with the alpaca in a corral behind the clubhouse. After her rescue, a spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Clio was in “pretty good condition” and had “no broken bones.”
In her ruling Friday, Justice Julia Loneragan ruled that “the presence of an alpaca on the premises and the uninvestigated rumor regarding sexual activity does not of itself provide reasonable grounds for suspicion that indecent conduct was taking place in relation to that alpaca.”
Police also claimed that the presence of a stripper pole in the clubhouse proved immoral behavior was occurring but Lonergan also dismissed that. She ruled that in modern Sydney, stripper poles are often used “as dance and fitness class equipment for young corporate women interested in core strength and fitness.”
She did agree with the police, however, that “reputed criminals” were likely to attend the “fortified” clubhouse to drink alcoholic beverages that are sold without a license. Who among us, after all, isn’t reputed to be a criminal at least occasionally?
Lonergan ruled that police can enter the clubhouse to search for drugs, alcohol or weapons and they are authorized to seize anything that might be used to store, supply or consume alcohol – like glasses and paper cups.