Our client is a 28 year old residing in Victoria.
He was charged with one count of importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug precursor under section 307.11 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
The offence carries a maximum penalty of 25 years’ imprisonment.
A joint strike force was set up by the New South Wales Police State Crime Command Drug & Firearms Squad and the Australian Border Force (ABF) to investigate the importation and supply of prohibited drugs.
An international consignment sent from China to Sydney was intercepted by the ABF and examined.
The consignment consisted of 5 pallets holding 50 cardboard boxes which, in turn, contained a total of 60,000 filled with 300 kilograms of ephedrine – a substance used to make amphetamines.
The ephedrine was removed and the consignment reconstructed to resemble its original appearance. It was released and monitored by the SCC Drug & Firearm Squad and ABF.
The consignment was then delivered to the addressed warehouse, which contained storage units.
Our client was alleged to have attended the warehouse where the consignment was delivered and captured on the CCTV inspecting the highlighters by opening a number of boxes, shaking them, inspecting them and taking photographs. He was also alleged to have been filmed taking one of the highlighters from the storage unit.
He was alleged to have travelled from Victoria to Sydney months beforehand and rented the storage unit.
He was ultimately arrested and participated in an electronically recorded interview, where he was alleged to have made certain admissions.
His family contacted our office on the day of his arrest, and we promptly attended to him in custody to take instructions.
The next day in court, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution vehemently opposed our bail application on a number of grounds, including the seriousness of the charge, the strength of the prosecution case, the allegation our client was a flight risks, that he played a significant role in a sophisticated enterprise and so on, which they submitted made our client an unacceptable bail risk.
We carefully scrutinised the material we were able to gather the previous day from police and on the morning of court, and made extensive submissions to the effect that the prosecution case was nowhere near as strong as made to appear in the court attendance notice.
We obtained various materials from our client’s family members in relation to his living arrangement and a small security.
In the result, the magistrate in Central Local Court granted bail on strict conditions; however, His Honour did agree with our submission that our client be permitted to travel to his home in Victoria and reside there.
We intend to ultimately make written submissions for the withdrawal of the proceedings.