Drug trafficker Francesco "Frank" Madafferi wants to be freed on bail while he fights convictions he believes were tainted by his long-term lawyer's police snitching.
But ultimately his freedom might come down to a decision by Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews or her immigration counterpart Alex Hawke.
Madafferi was jailed for a decade in 2014 in connection the importation of 15 million ecstasy pills in tomato tins.
He has already served a seven-year non-parole period but an application for release was rejected last year and he remains behind bars awaiting an appeal on fresh evidence relating to the underhanded dealings of his longtime lawyer Joe "Pino" Acquaro with Victoria Police.
Madafferi is also an unlawful non-citizen who has been fighting deportation to Italy for two decades, including in a battle that went to the High Court.
It means if he's released on bail he'll be taken into immigration detention where some fear he'll immediately seek to be deported to Italy.
His lawyer Catherine Boston told the Court of Appeal on Friday that it's fanciful to think he would try that, given his fight to remain in Australia, his ongoing attempt to clear his name and that his family is here.
The Crown could apply for a certificate allowing Madafferi's deportation to be put on hold while his case continues through the justice system, but they say it's ultimately up to the relevant minister to issue Madafferi with a visa to allow him into the community.
In a bail application, Ms Boston said seven factors in combination more than justify Madafferi's release, including the difficulty of his appeal being prepared while he's in jail.
She described the prospects of his conviction being overturned as strong, saying even the Crown concedes the case is arguable.
He could also offer a $1 million surety from a friend, has strong family support and has offers of employment should he be granted a visa.
There's also been delays his case, which Ms Boston blamed on Victoria Police.
"Due to Victoria Police's surreptitious and reprehensible conduct, Mr Madafferi was not provided with proper disclosure (about Mr Acquaro's informing) at the time of the trial," she said.
"Subsequently due to Victoria Police's efforts over many years to hide its practice of using lawyers as police informers, Mr Madafferi did not learn of that practice until 2019."
An appeal is unlikely to be heard until mid-2022, she said. He will have served his full sentence by August 2024.
Justices Karin Emerton and Robert Osborn will hand down their decision at a later date.