Op Ice Bobcat puts three on trial
ALL THREE men who appeared in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court yesterday for alleged drug trafficking will have to stand trial in a higher court.
This is in spite of vigorous defence arguments about the strength of the cases against them.
Constandinos Vasilios Dacolias, Gary Wayne Hyland and James Cecil Norman Campbell were all sent through to the Maryborough Supreme Court, but not before two defence lawyers argued their clients' charges should be thrown out of court.
Mr Dacolias was the first to be asked to speak yesterday, and his solicitor Justin Geldard made no submissions on his behalf, conceding a prima facie case.
Mr Dacolias is alleged to have claimed to control 90% of the methylamphetamine trade in Hervey Bay.
Mr Campbell's representative, Bruce Peters, then told the court there was “absolutely no evidence (against his client) to say he was trafficking” and argued the prosecution case against Mr Campbell was based on nothing more than assumptions and assertions.
Mr Campbell was allegedly found to be in possession of $1000 of cash used by undercover police in drug purchases as part of Operation Ice Bobcat in 2010.
Mr Peters said under that logic, anyone who ended up with any police cash in their wallet was a drug trafficker.
Mr Peters also tried to distance his client from Mr Dacolias, who had the majority of charges against him.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Kath Stagoll said there was other evidence linking Mr Campbell to Mr Dacolias, including a telephone intercept in which Mr Dacolias allegedly identified a “Jimmy Campbell”.
Meanwhile, the barrister for Mr Hyland was more successful, having one of his client's trafficking charges dismissed.
Mr Hyland was originally charged with both cannabis and methylamphetamine trafficking, and Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist accepted there was no case for the cannabis charge.
Mr Stjernqvist said he looked at the totality of the evidence against all three men, and said the “obvious commerciality” of the arrangements within the telephone intercepts was sufficient grounds for the men to stand trial for trafficking in methylamphetamine.
On Tuesday, two other men, Kim Buckley Beech and Christopher Anthony Dinte were also committed to Maryborough Supreme Court for similar charges.
All five men will remain on bail until their trial.