Foster buried 'escape kit' in yard: court

Jamie McKinnell

Notorious conman Peter Foster has been deemed an unacceptable flight risk and denied bail over his alleged involvement in a $1.5 million sports betting scam, with police claiming he'd previously buried an "escape kit" in his backyard.

Foster, 54, was arrested at a Gold Coast cafe in mid-February and extradited to NSW to face seven fraud-related offences.

It's alleged Foster used an assumed identity, Mark Hughes, to extract sums of between $100,000 and $1 million from a South African man living in Western Australia who invested in the so-called "Sports Trading Club" in 2013.

Foster applied for bail in Sydney's Central Local Court on Thursday, appearing via video-link from Gosford's Kariong Correctional Centre.

Prosecutor Nick Borosh said Foster had an established history of ignoring court orders and would face an "almost inevitable" custodial sentence if convicted.

Police also found "something in the nature of an escape kit" buried in Foster's backyard, including a fake Irish passport, Medicare card and Irish bank accounts in the same name.

"The prosecution says that's a clear indication the applicant is an unacceptable flight risk," Mr Borosh said.

But Foster's lawyer, John Young, dismissed those concerns as "fanciful" because the passport was rendered useless after the photograph and details were published in the media in 2015.

Mr Young said Foster knew for years charges were pending because of a civil claim and he chose to remain in Australia.

Foster also offered to submit to electronic monitoring at a personal cost of $27,000 and stump up a $50,000 surety.

"Mr Foster is plainly a man with a certain notoriety, but the record ought to be looked at for what it is," Mr Young said.

"It's extensive and in certain respects it's quite shameful, (but) it shouldn't be suggested Mr Foster is more than what he actually is."

Foster had significant ties to the community, including his unwell elderly mother, life partner and niece, Mr Young added.

During the hearing, Foster rested his head against his palm and appeared to fall asleep.

Magistrate Carmel Forbes came to the "inescapable conclusion" Foster presented an unacceptable flight risk. She was concerned about the counterfeit documents.

"The court could have no confidence he would abide with the bail conditions," she said.

Foster's matter is scheduled to return to court on April 11.