Zohar Kohavi: In Ballina earlier this year.
Zohar Kohavi: In Ballina earlier this year. Ross Irby

Israeli cook refused bail

ISRAELI national and Ballina-based cook Zohar Kohavi was refused bail in the Lismore Local Court yesterday after police claimed he was a flight risk with the capacity to obtain a false passport.

He was also due to be sentenced in the Lismore District Court on other serious drug offences.

Kohavi, 28, applied for bail after being charged with the commercial supply of 458 grams of MDMA (ecstasy) powder at Lennox Head on July 21; and dealing with the suspected proceeds of crime – $4635 – on the same day.

He is also charged with having goods in custody at Tyagarah on July 19 suspected of being illegally obtained – $4000 in cash; resisting/hindering police at Tyagarah on the same day; and refusing to comply with a police direction.

Kohavi faces sentencing in Lismore District Court on unrelated drug matters of supplying 80 ecstasy pills at Byron Bay on August 24, 2009; two counts of possession of a prohibited drug; dealing with the suspected proceeds of a crime; and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

In opposing bail, the police prosecutor argued the ecstasy offence before the District Court was ‘10 times’ the indictable quantity and police held real fears he would reoffend.

The prosecutor said police facts showed that while Kohavi was being questioned he received a text message on his mobile that was to do with a drug deal and his mobile phone had kept ringing.

The prosecutor claimed Kohavi was involved in the supply of drugs at a high level.

Defence lawyer Laura Fennell said her client had continued to answer his bail conditions before his more recent arrest and previously had the opportunity to leave the area, but did not.

She said he needed bail to further instruct his lawyers with regard to his sentence before the District Court, and he held safety fears in Silverwater jail because he was of the Jewish faith and the jail had many Muslim inmates who were ‘somewhat militant in their beliefs’.

Ms Fennell said Kohavi also had to eat food contrary to his beliefs.

Magistrate Robyn Denes queried what the Muslim inmates ate, and Ms Fennell replied they were able to arrange for special Halal meals (suited to their faith).

Ms Fennell said her client had already surrendered his Israeli passport to police.

Ms Denes refused bail saying it was a strong prosecution case that was strengthened by Kohavi’s guilty plea to other drug matters before the District Court.

She said he was likely to be facing a lengthy custodial sentence and it was also likely he may be unable to resist the temptation to flee the court’s jurisdiction.

The case was adjourned to October.



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