A man allegedly pretending to fish was caught with drugs by police.
A man allegedly pretending to fish was caught with drugs by police. Cas Garvey

NOT REEL BRIGHT: Fishy scene lands man in court

A BALLINA fisherman who was "just minding his own business” has been released on bail after he was arrested for drug possession.

Paul Ryan Hardy, 33, appeared in Ballina Local Court on Wednesday to face charges of two counts of taking part in supplying a prohibited drug, two counts of possessing a prohibited drug, possessing house- breaking implements, dealing with the proceeds of crime and being a recreational fisher failing to pay a fishing fee.

Richmond Police District officers arrested Mr Hardy on Tuesday when they saw the 33-year-old holding a fishing rod with a line in the water on the banks of the Richmond River at Ballina.

Police allege that he had digital scales next to him but had no fishing licence.

Mr Hardy allegedly told police he was fishing, despite his fishing line having no hook, sinker or bait attached.

During a search police located 1g of methamphetamine, 6.7g of cannabis, housebreaking implements, $370 cash and items related to drug supply, the court heard.

Mr Hardy spent the night in custody in Ballina after he was found in breach of bail conditions from a separate matter involving driving a vehicle with illicit drugs present in his blood.

His solicitor, Ian McKay, told the court Mr Hardy intended to plead not guilty to the latest charges, as well as to separate charges relating to possessing a knife and a dangerous weapon in public in May.

"He states that he was simply fishing and minding his own business,” Mr McKay said.

"I know the fact sheet implies he was pretending to be fishing, but he has told me he was going to lure his line with bait and cast off before the police arrested him.”

Mr Hardy was granted conditional bail and will return to Ballina Local Court on August 24.



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