Accused drug traffickers earn stay in Coast 'health retreat'
TWO accused drug traffickers have convinced a court they should swap prison for a Sunshine Coast "health retreat".
Scott Andrew Cumner, who faces 77 drug and other charges and Angelo Dexter Croft, whose alleged offending includes bail breaches, were on Friday released from remand and ordered by a Brisbane Supreme Court judge to reside at the unnamed Maleny health facility.
The men's alleged offending is not related, but each applied before the same judge to spend their time awaiting trial at the property described in court as a "residential health retreat" with 24-hour staffing.
Justice John Bond granted each bail, telling them they were not to use mobile phones and they could only leave the facility with a staff member.
Justice Bond also noted the retreat had CCTV installed and if both defendants stuck to his orders, the only way they could commit crimes would be at the facility.
Mr Cumner, a 47-year-old Tara man, has been on remand for more than 12 months after police allegedly found him in possession of methamphetamine, drug trafficking equipment and more than $60,000 over 17 months in 2015 and 2016.
He faces scores of charges relating to the possession and supply of drugs, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, receiving tainted property and other offences.
Mr Cumner was released on bail when he was first arrested, but in August last year police intercepts of his telephone revealed he was allegedly supplying more drugs so he was returned to jail.
Justice Bond said the Crown had a "strong case" against Mr Cumner.
However, he said the defendant had shown his continued "detention in custody" was not justified and that if he resided at the Maleny retreat the risks would be reduced.
"The facility would notify police, probation and parole authorities if he should not report to the program or leave," Justice Bond said.
Mr Croft's bail application followed Mr Cumner's.
Justice Bond noted the 29-year-old was facing multiple drug offences relating to the "wholesale supply" of MDMA, ice and marijuana.
He said the defendant was allegedly found with drugs, a scale and a money counting machine during a random breath test in mid -2015.
Police also conducted telephone intercepts that allegedly show him offering to trade drugs for "large amounts of cash".
In September, 2015, he was allegedly found with marijuana and ice as well as more than $98,000.
"He (Mr Croft) is in a show-cause position because he is alleged to have committed the indictable offences whilst on bail," Justice Bond said.
Justice Bond said the Crown's case against Mr Croft was strong and the defendant's criminal history included crimes against the Bail Act such as fail to appear.
"The applicant would have powerful incentive to avoid trial despite the ties he has to the community," Justice Bond said.
"As the date of the trial comes closer no doubt the risk of failing to appear will increase."
However, Justice Bond noted Mr Croft had been on remand for more than 12 months.
Justice Bond rejected Mr Croft's preferred bail option which was to live with his parents while wearing a GPS tracking device. - ARM NEWSDESK