The first man to be jailed under the NSW government's new consorting laws was 'booked' for the offence while grocery shopping with a flatmate, his mother says.
Lawyers for Charlie Foster, from Inverell, will today appeal his conviction for consorting on a variety of grounds.
Foster was sentenced last month to at least nine months jail under the new laws, which were brought in by the O'Farrell government in May.
The laws were brought in as a weapon to curtail a spate of crimes committed by outlaw motorcycle gangs in western Sydney. But Foster's mother says her son is "a long way from being a bikie".
Speaking outside the court yesterday, Tricia Harrison said one of the men her son consorted with, Jack Hayes, was a childhood friend and had been living with him at the time.
"He was sharing a house with Jack and a couple of times the consorting warnings and bookings were done when they were going grocery shopping," she said.
Foster, who was born with an intellectual disability, has previously served a 12-month jail term and faced assault and driving on drugs charges in the past, but has not been associated with outlaw motorcycle gangs.
"My son's a long way from being a bikie and involved in drive-by shootings and organised crime and all the rest of it," Ms Harrison said. "He has been in trouble before and been a bit cheeky to the police, but no more than many other people have been."
The appeal was mentioned in Armidale District Court yesterday, with Judge Clive Jeffreys giving leave to adjourn the appeal to today in order to read through the police brief of evidence.
According to a police fact sheet presented to the court, the 21-year-old was charged for a number of shopping trips with three other men.
Foster continued to associate with the men after receiving an official warning, known as a "consorting booking".
Each of the men had prior criminal convictions, but did not face consorting charges for associating with Foster.
Foster will be represented by barrister Wayne Baffsky, who has also provided counsel to the United Motorcycle Council and Hells Angels.
Mr Baffsky has been a vocal opponent of the consorting laws since they were first flagged by the State Government. Last year he was involved in a successful High Court challenge against a State Government push to outlaw bikie gangs.