A man facing "extremely disturbing" weapons charges has been released on bail after a court heard he was held in a cell with a COVID-positive prisoner for six days despite a serious medical condition.
Former soldier Michael Brown is accused of trying to build bombs and a semi-automatic rifle at his home at Picton in Sydney's southwest.
Police raided the property in July after learning he'd imported a large quantity of firearm parts and chemicals that could be used to make bombs, police facts submitted to the NSW Supreme Court say.
They found significant amounts of chemicals, parts for a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun, a manual on how to manufacture a rifle, and traces of explosives in glassware.
Buried in the backyard were heat-proof bags of ammunition. The search also located military equipment like uniforms, combat helmets, ballistic vests and detonators.
Justice Mark Ierace on Friday said the allegations against Brown were "extremely disturbing" and that they suggested that he intended to cause significant harm to people or property.
If released, there was a concern that he might continue his alleged activity, and that police might not have found everything on the property.
The judge nevertheless granted Brown bail due to concerns for his health.
The 54-year-old has a life-threatening blood cancer and requires urgent chemotherapy, as well as a possible stem cell transplant.
He told his lawyer that a man he shared a cell with for eight days at Parklea Correctional Centre had tested positive to COVID-19 after two days, while Brown tested negative.
The lawyer gave evidence to the court that Brown said he'd repeatedly tried to explain to prison staff that he had pancytopenia, a blood condition leaving him with too few red and white blood cells and platelets, and he shouldn't be held with a COVID-positive cellmate.
But it wasn't until a general practitioner saw him in his cell and recommended he be immediately sent to a clinic that he was moved, he said.
After contracting COVID-19 and being admitted to St Vincent's Hospital in Darlinghurst last month, Brown was diagnosed with life-threatening blood cancer.
Justice Ierace first heard the allegation last Friday. He adjourned the bail application for a week to give crown prosecutor Scott Jaeger time to investigate the claim.
But on Friday Mr Jaeger told the court that despite his attempts to shed light on the issue, he hadn't been able to find out any information to dispute Brown's claim.
As well, he could not indicate how authorities would take care of Brown's treatment needs if he were to remain in prison.
Justice Ierace said the court had been placed in an "invidious position".
"If (Brown) is to remain in custody, the court could not be confident that he would be properly treated," he concluded.
Justice Ierace found the staff at Parklea had been aware of Brown's underlying health conditions because of information from his treating doctors.
The judge imposed "tough" bail conditions, including a ban on Brown leaving his home without one of his parents.
The judge asked for a copy of his judgment to be sent to the Corrective Services Commissioner.