Frail Kyogle ice dealer, 64, stalked in prison by stabber
AN ELDERLY Kyogle man accused of large scale drug dealing is being taunted in prison by a man who stabbed him, and now claims he is going "to finish the job", a court has heard.
Thomas John Kedwell, of Roseberry Creek, was arrested in September and charged along with three others with the commercial supply of 402g of methylamphetamine.
Police allege the 64-year-old and three co-accused imported wholesale shipments of the drug ice from Queensland and have evidence they conducted drug deals on at least three separate occasions over a 30-day period.
This week Kedwell appeared via video link in the Lismore Local Court in a bid to be granted bail before Christmas.
Wearing glasses, with silver hair and a weathered appearance, Kedwell sounded hoarse and frail when he briefly addressed Magistrate David Heilpern.
His lawyer told the court he was suffering from heart and liver conditions as well as post-traumatic stress disorder.
There were also other compelling reasons for granting bail.
Kedwell was the victim of a stabbing 18 months ago, and the perpetrator was in custody at the same prison and had taunted Kedwell, saying he was going to "finish the job".
The man had approached the accused several times and yelled at him across the prison yard.
The police prosecutor told Mr Heilpern that police could launch an investigation into the claim but Kedwell's lawyer said the court should accept the story at face value.
He also argued the police case against his client was weaker than police prosecutors claimed.
"The Crown argue that they have a very strong case, I argue the opposite," he said.
"They have no actual drugs, they only have telephone intercepts which they would [seek to] convince the jury was sound evidence."
The Crown case also appeared to "open ended" with no indication of when it would be ready to progress to a trial.
But the police prosecutor opposed the bail application on the grounds that Kedwell would be returning to "exact same situation" prior to his arrest at his Roseberry Creek premises near Kyogle in September, and would be in close proximity to one of his co-accused.
Kedwell's co-accused, Nicola New, was granted bail by the Supreme Court earlier this month and has been required to live with her mother and sister nearby at Rukenvale.
Ms New's son Richard Matthews has also been granted bail over the same charges.
But Magistrate David Heilpern said the defendant had shown enough cause for bail..
He said the prosecution case was strong but Kedwell's circumstances were "exceptional" due to his poor health.
He said the defendant was likely at risk of being "seriously assaulted" by his fellow inmate.
Magistrate Heilpern added that extensive delays in the Crown case were a partial justification for granting bail.
He said a brief had been served but police statements were still outstanding: "The delay in this matter is certainly going to be considerable ... and police statements are crucial."
Mr Heilpern granted Kedwell bail on strict conditions including he reside at his Roseberry Creek Rd address at all times and report daily to Kyogle police station.
A trial is not expected until at least the end of 2017, if not early 2018.