Accused mother and son ice dealers refused bail

Methamphetamine, also known as ice.
Methamphetamine, also known as ice. kaarsten

"REAMS" of phone tapping evidence will be submitted by police in the case against an Kyogle area family who are alleged to have dealt in large quantities of the drug ice.

Nicola New, 43, and her son Richard Matthews, 22, of Roseberry Creek, were refused bail this week in Lismore Local Court while appearing via video link from Grafton jail.

Following their arrest in Kyogle earlier this month both were charged with commercial drug supply - New with the supply of 344g of methamphetamines, Matthews with 402g.

They were allegedly involved in a drug operation led by Matthews' father, John Matthews, which imported bulk quantities of the drug from southeast Queensland.

The elder Matthews has not applied for bail in the case.

The mother and son's lawyer argued bail was merited because Matthews Snr was the "prime mover" in the drug ring and had commandeered both his partner and son's mobile phones to set up drug purchases, thereby implicating them without their full knowledge.

It was conceded that New had "involvement at the margins" of the operation but her involvement was not "extensive".

She had "virtually no (criminal) record" and was a mother of two teenage children.

The pair's lawyer also contested the allegation that Matthews had financed some of the drug purchases, saying the 22-year-old had "very limited means at the time".

Given that the massive amount of evidence in the case relating to the surveillance operation, he also argued his clients would be in custody "for months" before the case progressed.

Additional security for bail was offered by New's and her son's 74-year-old mother and grandmother, an aged pensioner who had recently sold her home, who was prepared to offer a $10,000 bond on their behalf.

But Magistrate David Heilpern refused to buy into the arguments for bail.

He pointed to the "very strong" prosecution case against the pair.

Magistrate Heilpern said the facts alleged police had intercepted "numerous incidents" via phone of drug purchases in Queensland which were subsequently couriered back to Kyogle for distribution.

The evidence suggested that they were "all involved" in a joint criminal enterprise.

"All in all, the accused has not shown why detention is not justified," he said of New.

In a later hearing Matthews' bail application was refused on the same grounds.

The case was adjourned to November 8.

Topics:  crime, drugs, editors picks

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