Ex-bikie fears her funeral will get her friends arrested
AS SHE reflects on a life that in all likeliness will be cut short by terminal brain cancer, Janelle Watkins seems to have very few regrets.
Throughout much of her 52 years, the Ipswich grandmother has hardly lived the life of an angel - a fact she has no problems admitting to - and in her final weeks on this Earth, she's planning one final act of defiance.
Having grown up and spent much of her adult life among the outlaw bikie scene, Ms Watkins' final wish is to have dozens of bikies at her funeral, where she hopes to have her casket transported on a side car.
Despite fears that the funeral could attract the wrong kind of attention from authorities, Ms Watkins said she would go through with the plan no matter what.
"These new bike laws could mean I can't have my closest friends together," she said.
"I want them to wear their colours on the day. It's what they are."
After fighting breast cancer for the last 12 months, Ms Watkins underwent a CT scan last Friday after having a bad fall.
The scan showed several inoperable tumours, with doctors giving her a life expectancy of only a few months.
The diagnosis has only strengthened her resolve to plan the funeral the way she wants.
Ms Watkins has close associations with members of the Rebels and Black Uhlans - both of which have been declared criminal organisations.
"My association was through family and friends and I've grown up with Rebels," she said.
"I can't say I was an innocent child. It's been part of my life for a long time.
"I think it's wrong that you can't have a group of friends together - just mates in a group.
"There are going to be a lot of bikes and tow trucks, and they are all pretty much close family."
According to the Criminal Code section 60A; "Any person who is a participant of a criminal organisation and is knowingly present in a public place with two or more other persons who are participants of a criminal organisation commits an offence."
Despite the tough stance, some leniency has been shown in the past with regards to bikie funerals.
This isn't the first time a large congregation of outlaw bikies has planned to attend a funeral together, with Taskforce Maxima Commander Detective Superintendent Mick Niland pointing out police have respected the sanctity of the occasion.
"Given that the public gathering is a funeral, Queensland Police will have a considered approach to the enforcement of offences," he said.
"No action would be taken to disrupt the dignity of a funeral unless it was required for public safety reasons. No enforcement action would be taken on the day, however, enforcement action may be taken at a later time if evidence of an offence exists."