Alleged ANOM drug trafficker refused bail

·3-min read

An alleged ANOM drug trafficker has been refused bail despite arguing he wouldn't copy a now-captured fugitive accused of cutting off his ankle monitor.

George Chambour's barrister proposed a $6 million bail surety, submitting it would be unlikely he would expose his sureties and "do what a now higher-profile person did in another ANOM case".

In the unrelated case, Mostafa Baluch was released on $4 million bail in October before allegedly cutting off his ankle bracelet and going on the run.

The 33-year-old Sydney man, who's accused over a conspiracy to import more than 900kg of cocaine into Australia, was re-arrested in November.

Chambour, 36, who was arrested in June as part of Operation Ironside, is charged with trafficking in a commercial quantity, in excess of 60kg, of methylamphetamine.

The case relates to the AN0M app, which was secretly being run and monitored by law enforcement.

In applying for bail in the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday, Chambour's barrister Phillip Boulten SC said his client was said to have possessed the relevant devices at the relevant times.

But he said it was "challengeable" whether the device was used by the same person at all times.

Trent Glover, for the Crown, pointed to evidence showing Chambour was the user of the device, including in May when "George" was communicating with his named partner.

"The applicant had advanced plans to abscond from Australia," he said.

But Mr Boulten said the messages could be regarded as his client agonising as to whether he should go to Queensland in an endeavour to get away or whether to report on bail, with him deciding on the latter.

But Mr Glover said this was to "buy time" for a plan to leave via Indonesia for Dubai at a price of $US500,000.

Arguing against the "insecurity" of his proposed electronic monitoring, Mr Boulten said just because one person had cut off it did not follow that another would do the same.

He noted $6 million, including different properties and $640,000, was being offered as surety along with the "extra security" of electronic monitoring.

"This is not a set of sureties that can easily be duped," he said.

Justice Hament Dhanji concluded the crown case was strong.

"There is a further aspect of the crown case that the user of the device demonstrated an interest in and it would appear had some capacity to leave the jurisdiction," he said.

Any trial would likely not start until 2023 and Mr Boulten had referred to difficulties for his client accessing the prosecution brief and instructing his lawyers while in jail.

In deciding Chambour had not shown "cause" why his detention was not justified, the judge referred to steps being taken for him to have access to a computer.

"In my view it is premature to reach a view he is unable to gain access to the brief and unable to properly instruct his lawyers," he said.

As he rejected the first step of the bail application, the judge did not need to consider evidence relating to his capacity to flee and other matters.

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