When this Wanganui act was going through Parliament the Attorney-General expressed concern the act would give too much power to the council enacting the bylaw, which constituted a threat to individual freedom.
But politicians invoked the greater good, stating, "we think for the safety and security of the residents of Wanganui these powers are desirable".
Well, it took just one Philip Ernest Schubert, a Hells Angels member, to fight City Hall. And he won.
The specific purpose of banning the displaying of insignia was to prevent gangs intimidating the public in specified places, and avoiding gang confrontations.
But Justice Clifford pointed out many of those activities targeted are already illegal, and the act's definition of gang regalia could include any Joe Citizen naively wearing logo-ed clothing (my words).
It was the upholding of freedom of association for which we should thank Schubert, even if we dislike and fear the gang with which he chooses to cruise. We might not care if they come for the Hells Angels, but in principal, we should.
Regular readers of Keeping Stock will be well aware of our thoughts on criminal gangs, and our disappointment at last week's High Court decision. Interestingly, the case against the Wanganui District Council was taken by a Hell's Angel - from Auckland!
But somewhere along the line, Deborah Coddington has undergone an epiphany in her views towards crime and criminals. She was, after all, the author of the New Zealand Paedophile and Sex Offenders Index (and its Australian counterpart). We cannot help but wonder where her concern for the Bill of Rights Act was then, when she was publishing the details of criminals who had been sentenced, and had served their sentences.
We're not suggesting that Ms Coddington's former work was not a useful public service; we simply find her support for the rights of violent criminal gangs a little incongruous.