Notorious bikie Troy Mercanti is back behind bars today after his bail was revoked because of an allegation he returned a positive drug test in breach of the strict conditions of his release.
Mr Mercanti, who appeared in the District Court wearing a hoodie emblazoned with the word “Finks”, is denying he has deliberately ingested any narcotics, despite the Chief Judge Peter Martino being told he returned a positive urinalysis test on Friday which detected methamphetamines.
Mr Mercanti spent nine months in custody on charges of assaulting his former partner, Tammy Kingdon, before being released from jail nearly six weeks ago after being granted home detention bail by the Supreme Court.
Today, State prosecutor Justin Whalley told the court that Mr Mercanti’s bail had been revoked by corrective services authorities after a second test yesterday indicated a level of methamphetamine above the accepted standard.
Mr Whalley submitted that the condition that Mr Mercanti should remain clear of illicit drugs was not a “moralistic” restriction, but was intended to reign in violent behaviour and reduce the chance he would associate with gangs.
But defence lawyer Shane Brennan told the court Mr Mercanti, who is scheduled to face trial in February, maintained that he had not deliberately ingested any narcotics and had stated he would be stupid to do so.
Submitting that Mr Mercanti should be granted fresh bail, Mr Brennan said his client had come within an “inch of death” earlier this year and was not well physically.
Mr Brennan said Mr Mercanti had been suffering considerable depression because he had not seen his sons since his arrest in January and had been engaged in ongoing counselling with his parish priest.
Justice Martino said it appeared likely that Mr Mercanti had consumed methamphetamine, but adjourned the application until next Thursday to allow further investigations into the tests results.
Outside court, Mr Brennan said Mr Mercanti had been tested for drugs about twice every week since his release on bail.
“On November 2 they say he returned a positive test, which we will investigate more closely now, and look at the viability of that,” he said.
“Our argument is simply this: If it is positive, it was not a wilful ingestion of a narcotic and we wonder whether it is real anyway.”