A BALLARAT man described as a “senior figure” of a local motorcycle gang was yesterday jailed for one year.
Benjamin Nikkelson, 31, pleaded guilty to 20 charges following his arrest on August 8 this year when police raided a Mair Street shed believed to be the headquarters of the gang.
Dubbed ‘The Scoundrels’, Ballarat Magistrates’ Court heard the group of about 20 men formed around a common opposition to violence against women and a strong allegiance to the history of Ballarat.
A previous court hearing heard despite the club not referring to themselves as an outlaw motorcycle club, they had several meetings with members of the Vikings outlaw motorcycle club, and had often been invited to their club rooms.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Vikki Chaffey told the court Nikkelson lived in a loft at the top of the shed where police discovered a number of stolen guns and drugs.
Among the long list of items seized included two home made pistols and a sawn-off shotgun, all of which police said were stolen in previous burglaries.
Senior Constable Chaffey said Nikkelson made full admissions to police and said he had been smoking in excess of $3000 worth of amphetamines per week.
Mike Wardell, for Nikkelson, downplayed his client’s activities and said the group of men were not considered a gang.
“This was a very low level gathering of people,” Mr Wardell said.
“Not to be regarded as to something akin to an outlaw motorcycle club.”
He said Nikkelson had made some very bad decisions in recent months, yet was lucky he still had the support of a large group of family and friends.
Appearing via video-link from the Melbounre Assessment Prison, Nikkelson appeared calm and polite as more than 10 family members in the court offered their support.
Magistrate John Lesser said he believed Nikkelson’s future prospects were positive.
“I’m a great believer in you improving your position once you’re out,” he said.
Jailed for 12 months, with a non-parole period of six months, Nikkelson will be eligible for parole in just over four months, having already served 53 days in custody.
He was also fined $1000.