Man bailed over drug charge

KYOGLE area resident Arthur Shackell has been granted bail in Lismore Local Court following his arrest by Kyogle police on an alleged amphetamine drug offence.

Shackell, 48, is one of four people on the Northern Rivers to be charged with the offence of conspiring to supply a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug. They were charged following a police operation codenamed Red Mahogany.

Two other accused, a Ballina woman aged 23 and an Alstonville woman aged 49, have been charged by Ballina police with the same offence and will appear before Ballina Local Court on October 14. A Lismore man aged 48 also has been been charged.

Opposing Shackell's bail application, prosecutor Sgt Peter Costin-Nielsen said he was on District Court bail pending trial on an unrelated matter. He also had to appear before Ballina Local Court on a charge involving an explosive, believed to be firecrackers.

He said the MDMA allegation involved a greater than commercial quantity of drug and the charge stemmed from police surveillance of phone calls involving the alleged conspirators with regard to the supply of MDMA. Sgt Costin-Nielsen said phone conversations were recorded between April 4 and April 9involving Shackell and a co-accused.

Defence lawyer Tom Trembath said the six pages of police documents supporting the conspiracy were transcripts of phone conversations between some of the co-accused, though none went into specifics about quantity or value.

Mr Trembath said Shackell, a disability pensioner, was phoned by Kyogle police and voluntarily went to the station.

He said Shackell in one recorded phone conversation said ‘everything they sent over I gave back to them. There is more than two grand there'.

He argued his client should be released because there was no police details regarding co-conspirators and the facts before the court were unsatisfactory. Shackell had been on bail for other matters without any problems.

Magistrate Robyn Denes granted Shackell bail and ordered he report twice a week to Lismore police.

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