Couple extradited on old charges

THE Millers were a middle-aged couple living a quiet life in Casino, but they won't be coming home for tea tonight following their arrest and extradition to Melbourne to face serious drug charges.

What their Tallowwood Avenue neighbours did not know was that Michael and Christine Millers were fugitives from the law after apparently fleeing Victoria nearly five years ago to avoid the charges.

Yesterday the Millers, aged 56 and 54, cut forlorn figures appearing before the Lismore Local Court on arrest warrants issued by Melbourne County Court in February 2005 after their failure to appear.

Police prosecutor Sgt Brett Assner also sought to have their bail revoked so Victorian police could take them back to Melbourne. They had been granted bail by a Casino Court Registrar after their arrest on Tuesday.

The couple, who also lived for a while in Knights Road at Casino, were charged by Victorian police in November 2004 with the commercial cultivation of cannabis in a hydroponic set-up found inside their rented Melbourne home. Michael Millers was also charged with theft and being in possession of a prohibited weapon - a set of nun-chukkas police allege was is their bedroom.

Defence lawyer Ralph James was unsuccessful yesterday in his attempt to prevent the couple having their bail revoked after arguing they should make their own way back by car to Melbourne to allow for Christine Millers' medical conditions.

Mr James said that Mrs Millers had osteoarthritis and had been living in specially-equipped community housing at Casino because of her significant disability, with her husband the registered carer. Her elderly parents also live in Casino.

Mr James said because of her disability they could not do a runner, with Magistrate Michael Dakin replying 'but they have done a runner'.

Mr Dakin revoked their bail. The Millers are due to be flown to Melbourne today.

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