Cocaine accused Jamil Hopoate granted bail

·3-min read

Despite troubled former NRL player Jamil Hopoate's alleged role in importing 514kg of cocaine the prosecution has backed down and consented to his release on bail.

The son of former Manly winger John Hopoate is to be released into his father's care and driven directly to the home of brother and Canterbury star William, who also promised $200,000 in surety for him.

On Thursday in the NSW Supreme Court "vigorous opposition" against his release was laid out by the prosecutor who pointed out Hopoate had been on bail for another unrelated matter when he committed the alleged crime.

Crown prosecutor David Laird said Hopoate had gone to a truck "in circumstances where it's demonstrably obvious that he believed there was a prohibited drug inside that truck".

Justice Elizabeth Fullerton had reserved handing down her bail decision overnight after Hopoate's barrister Greg James QC argued the charge his client faced was complicated by the fact he was found with a "neutral substance".

The 26-year-old has been charged with supplying a large commercial quantity of cocaine after collecting eight one-kilogram slabs of what he allegedly believed was the drug from a truck in Botany in May.

On Friday Justice Fullerton said she had been advised the Crown was now consenting to his release.

"Is that the case?" Justice Fullerton said.

"That's the case Your Honour," Mr Laird said.

In May Australian Border Force officers found more than half a tonne of cocaine hidden in a consignment of toolboxes that arrived in Sydney. The drugs had an estimated street value of almost $155 million.

Police switched the blocks out and monitored a hi-vis-dressed Hopoate removing eight blocks of "an entirely neutral substance" from the truck and placing them in his backpack, the court was told on Thursday.

He then told his co-accused Leanne Mafoa "to drive quickly," due to police presence, before running from the vehicle and throwing the backpack "some distance" away.

Police gave chase and detained him shortly after.

Mafoa who along with Hopoate had no personal identification or a mobile phone on her was granted bail on Thursday.

Mr James argued Hopoate's charge did not extend so far under the NSW Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act, given he was found with no traceable element of drugs on him.

"Presumably it's sought to be made out on the basis he is seeking to obtain what he believed to be drugs and that renders them in possession," Mr James said.

The Crown earlier submitted Hopoate was "trusted" with the significant amount of illicit substance by criminals still unknown to authorities.

On Friday after Justice Fullerton readout Hopoate's strict bail conditions he remained confused in his cell.

"So what's happening? Is it granted?" Hopoate was heard saying.

In a separate matter Hopoate faces sentencing in July for three counts of common assault, two of stalking or intimidation with intent to cause fear of physical harm, one charge of mid-range drink driving, and driving on a suspended licence.

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