‘Illegal’ search evidence thrown out for drug accused

A SUPREME Court justice has thrown out drug evidence obtained during an "illegal" police search of a car.

A Queensland detective followed Rossario Dom Barbaro, 26, from Tweed Heads in NSW to a Gold Coast suburb on June 27 last year.

Police arrested Mr Barbaro and his 23-year-old passenger, Mackay man Christos Panagakos, when they stopped at a Coolangatta restaurant a few hours after leaving the Northern Rivers district of NSW

Two police officers allegedly found four small bags containing 27.9g of methamphetamine when they searched the car.

Brisbane Supreme Court ruled late this month the search was illegal because the officers did not have permission from Mr Barbaro, from Southport, or Mr Panagakos.

Justice Martin Daubney ruled the evidence was inadmissible, saying police needed a warrant to search the car without permission.

"This was not a case of an emergent search," Justice Daubney said.

"Nor was it a case in which there was any risk of interference with the vehicle while a warrant for its search was obtained.

"(The police officer) expressly confirmed in his affidavit that the vehicle could have been guarded while a search warrant was sought from an appropriate issuing authority."

As a result, the Crown is no longer proceeding with charges against Mr Barbaro.

Mr Panagakos, who had a mention in Brisbane on Friday (this morning) is still facing three drug-related charges

- APN NEWSDESK



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