'Stupid' and 'blatant' mistake Barbaro made 96 times
ACCUSED Mongols bikie Harley Barbaro was warned four times before he breached an anti-consorting notice 96 times in four months to have conversations with his "best friends".
The 28-year-old was issued with multiple consorting notices banning him from contacting about 50 people who were classed as recognised offenders.
Barbaro instead ignored those noticed and called, texted and met with a small group of those friends between February and June 2020.
His constant contact was described as "stupid" and "blatant".
Barbaro is the brother of underworld figure Pasquale Barbaro, who was shot execution-style in Sydney in 2016.
One of the breaches included a phone call to his best friend Sonny Jenkins, who was in prison at the time.
The call included the pair talking about charges Barbaro was facing and changes to the laws.
Barbaro, who recently became a father for first time, named his son Rossario Sonny after Mr Jenkins and his brother Rossario Barbaro, who took his own life in 2017.
Mr Jenkins was recently made the youngest Barbaro's godfather.
Barbaro was also contacting other "childhood friends" who were on his banned list, including Todd Barnes and Matthew Hutchins.
The anti-consorting laws were designed to stop bikie gangs and organised crime spreading throughout the state and allow police to issue notices to prevent people associating with other recognised offenders.
Police must issue the notice listing the recognised offenders a person cannot contact for the laws to come into play.
Barbaro pleaded guilty in the Southport District Court on Thursday to 10 charges including habitually consorting with recognised offenders, possessing dangerous drugs, possessing weapons, possessing explosives and breaching bail.
The incidents all occurred between February 5 last year and February 2 this year.
The alleged Mongols bikie gang member was also found with a small amount of human growth hormone, fireworks, cannabis and a flick knife.
Magistrate Cameron McKenzie sentenced Barbaro to three months prison to be wholly suspended for 12 months.
It is the first time Barbaro has been sentenced to prison despite having been convicted of crimes 17 times since 2010.
Magistrate McKenzie said the offending was "stupid" and "blatant".
"Given no less than four written warnings and despite that there was 96 breaches of the consorting notice," he said.
Magistrate McKenzie said Barbaro had also breached bail, including an instance where he sent 69 text messages to a man he was not allowed to contact under his bail conditions.
"The amount and regularity of offending is of great concern," Magistrate McKenzie said.Barbaro was also fined $1250.
Defence barrister Marty Longhurst, instructed by Moloney MacCallum Lawyers, said the conversations captured were "ones that would occur between best friends".
He described the repeated offending as "stupid".
"The breaches of bail they were blatant but they weren't particularly malicious and they were not without context," he said.
"There are a number of text messages but they were with a good friend."
In his outline of submissions Mr Longhurst quoted from Martin Niemoller's 'First they came for the socialists' which was written about Nazi Germany.
Mr Longhurst used the poem to reflect on the anti-consorting laws.
"There is no reference in the Penalties and Sentences Act to the associations of a defendant being relevant to a sentence in Queensland, and, respectfully, it would be a chilling prospect for that to be the case as a general rule," he said.
Mr Longhurst said Barbaro was settling down with the birth of his son, recent engagement and plans to buy out the barber shop he is currently managing.
FEBRUARY 5: BARBARO'S CHATS WITH 'CHILDHOOD FRIENDS'
ACCUSED Mongols bikie Harley Barbaro has been back in court after being arrested last year for alleged consorting.
Barbaro was arrested by police in June 2020 and charged with consorting and drug offences.
The brother of slain Sydney underworld boss Pasquale Barbaro on Thursday appeared in the Southport Magistrates Court on a charge of habitually consorting.
Barbaro will be sentenced in the same court on April 1.
He has yet to enter a plea for the remaining charges including allegedly breach of bail and possessing dangerous drugs and weapons.
At the time of his arrest, police alleged Barbaro consorted with four people including alleged OMCG members Sonny Jenkins and Matthew Hutchins.
He is also alleged to have consorted with recognised offenders Todd and Joel Barnes.
Defence lawyer Campbell MacCallum, of Moloney MacCallum Abdelshahied Lawyers, said the charge came from Barbaro using an encrypted app to chat with "childhood friends".
"There are like 200 messages of a totally mundane nature with no criminality discussed," Mr MacCallum said.
"Police got into it and have absolutely no evidence of criminal events, just pure chats among childhood friends."
It comes after Barbaro in 2019 was found not guilty of habitually consorting.
Under Queensland law for someone to be found guilty of habitually consorting police must issue them with an approved warning notice with the name of a "recognised offender" they cannot contact or meet.
Police must also have evidence the person issued the warning had consorted, was consorting or likely to consort with a known criminal.
The court found there was no evidence Barbaro had consorted or was likely to consort with recognised offenders before the warning was issued.
The prosecution were also ordered to pay $4500 to Barbaro for the legal costs for taking the matter to trial.
Barbaro was the first person to challenge the consorting laws in court after the legislation was introduced in 2016.
Originally published as 'Stupid' and 'blatant' mistake Barbaro made 96 times