Canberra Comanchero sergeant-at-arms faces deportation after being charged with possessing bombs

Comanchero MC

The sergeant-at-arms of the Canberra Comanchero OMC was charged with possessing bombs on Monday and faces deportation whenever he is released from custody.

Sosefo Tu’uta Katoa, 26, appeared via video link in the ACT Magistrates Court and was charged with three counts of possessing an incendiary bomb, dating back to 2017.

Mr Katoa also has charges relating to an alleged blackmail in the ACT Supreme Court and a charge of affray relating to an alleged bikie punch-up at the Woden Southern Cross Club in January.

The court heard police hold suspicions Mr Katoa was involved in as many as 33 club related arsons and 28 club related shootings.

He was granted bail in the Supreme Court last week over the alleged blackmail and applied for release on Monday on the other matters.

Prosecutor Rebecca Christensen opposed bail, saying Mr Katoa posed a risk of committing further offences, harming the community and not appearing in court.

She called evidence from Leading Senior Constable Dale Ohlmus, who is part of Taskforce Nemesis, the specialist unit targeting club related crime.

Leading Senior Constable Ohlmus told the court Immigration Minister David Coleman had on Monday signed an order revoking Mr Katoa’s visa.

He said that should Mr Katoa, who is a New Zealand citizen, be released from the Alexander Maconochie Centre, he would be taken immediately into the custody of the Australian Border Force and put into immigration detention.

Ms Christensen said this meant Mr Katoa would not appear in future to face the charges against him.

Leading Senior Constable Ohlmus said police had allegedly matched fingerprints found on the sticky tape used to bind the bomb’s components together to Mr Katoa.

He said when Mr Katoa was arrested police searched his home and found a Comancheros sergeant-at-arms patch in his bedroom, and he later admitted to police he held that position within the club.

Leading Senior Constable Ohlmus said the sergeant-at-arms was responsible for ensuring the safety of the club, maintaining discipline among members and dealing with and co-ordinating retaliation against other clubs.

The officer said if Mr Katoa was released he could pose a risk to alleged victims or put pressure on individuals to recant statements.

Mr Katoa’s lawyer, Peter Bevan, argued the case against his client regarding possession of the bombs had not become any stronger since police took possession of the devices in 2017. He suggested the charges were only brought after Mr Katoa was granted bail in the Supreme Court.

He also said the immigration case against Mr Katoa had been hurried along after he secured bail last week.

He said the police had provided immigration officials a list of offences they held suspicions he had been involved in, rather than instances where he’s been charged or convicted.

Mr Bevan also told the court Mr Katoa wanted to distance himself from the Comancheros and move on with his life.

However, Leading Senior Constable Ohlmus responded by saying it was significantly more complicated to leave a bikie club than saying you want to quit.

He said senior members, often at a national level, would oppose a member leaving the club and members often had to leave something behind with the club like a Harley Davidson.

He said club members trying to leave were often assaulted.

Ultimately the bail application was adjourned for more clarification to be sought around Mr Katoa’s immigration status.

The matter will return to court later this month.

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Source: Canberra Times