William Barker outside the Maroochydore Watch House.
William Barker outside the Maroochydore Watch House. Rae Wilson

Man who buried $1m cash in backyard loses appeal bid

A DRUG kingpin who buried almost $1 million cash on his Mooloolah Valley property has lost his bid to knock a year off his decade-long jail sentence.

William Fredericis Barker argued in Queensland Court of Appeal that 10 years for trafficking methamphetamines, and three other drugs, was manifestly excessive and the sentencing judge had erred.

But Justice Anthe Philippides, in a judgment handed down on Friday, rejected Barker's arguments, including claims some buried cash came from lucrative businesses on the Sunshine Coast.

Barker accepted the sentencing judge, who found he was not a credible witness, could reject testimony he had accumulated the money to avoid paying tax on his pizza stores and car yard.

But he argued the Crown had not put forward sufficient evidence to prove the whole of the buried $995,000 came from drug trafficking.

Barker, who pleaded guilty at a contested sentence hearing in October last year, had four key customers on-selling drugs to people in the Bundaberg, Warwick and Sunshine Coast regions.

A forensic accountant found he had about $1.6 million in unexplained income, including the hidden cash that Customs dogs detected.

Police found cash - many stacks vacuum sealed then carefully wrapped in duct tape - beneath shipping containers, inside wall cladding, in shopping bags buried inside a plastic drum and inside other items.

The sentencing judge found Barker had the trappings of wealth, including a six-bedroom house under construction and had spent $46,000 on jewellery.

Justice Philippides said the sentencing judge was entitled to infer the buried money was "derived from drug offending rather than tax evasion".

She said there was no basis for challenging the findings or the sentence.

"The applicant was not drug dependent. The only motivation that could be identified was financial gain," she said.

"An appropriately deterrent sentence was required reflecting the trafficking in the highly addictive drug methylamphetamine, which was destructive on families and the community."

- APN NEWSDESK



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