Bail refused

March 14, 2018

One of three women arrested on Peter Ross-Edwards Causeway on Saturday, in a car police allege was a clandestine laboratory, has been remanded in custody.

Mooroopna’s Holly Knight, 29, who the court heard is also sometimes known as Holly Wade, was refused bail yesterday while co-accused Susan Lautier, 28, from Kyabram, was bailed.

A third woman, the driver of the car in question, a silver Volkswagen Golf, was released on bail at the weekend.

Yesterday, Shepparton police Senior Constable David Erdmann told Shepparton Magistrates’ Court the three women were pulled over about 10.20am on Saturday.

Police said the driver appeared to be under the influence of drugs, and during a subsequent search of the vehicle methamphetamines, drug paraphernalia and equipment allegedly used to make drugs were found.

Investigators from Victoria Police’s clandestine unit attended and confirmed the items were consistent with the production of methamphetamine, the court heard.

During further searches of the accused women at Shepparton Police Station, cash and more amounts of methamphetamines were allegedly found.

Sen Const Erdmann said $1400 was found in Ms Lautier’s handbag and a bag containing a gram of methamphetamine was found, hidden internally.

Ms Knight was alleged to have been found with $650 in her purse along with three ziplock bags of methamphetamine.

‘‘She was subject to a further search back at the station and 23.5 grams of methamphetamine was found in her underwear,’’ Sen Const Erdmann said.

Police later executed a search warrant at Ms Knight’s home in Macisaac Rd, Mooroopna, where they allegedly located more drugs, and a tick sheet referring to transactions between the accused and purchasers of drugs, the court heard.

Defence lawyer Luke Slater told the court Ms Lautier won $1400 cash from the pokies and said her version of events had substance.

Mr Slater said his client had only been charged with having cash and possessing a small amount of methamphetamine, and, therefore, should be bailed.

‘‘Given her modest history and with appropriate conditions, her risk to the public can be reduced to an appropriate level,’’ he said.

Magistrate Stella Stuthridge agreed, saying although Ms Lautier was a passenger in the car — which is suggested of being a clandestine laboratory — Ms Lautier was not charged with that particular offence.

She was bailed with strict conditions to appear at court on May 11.

Mr Slater, also representing Ms Knight, admitted the bail application in regards to Ms Knight was ‘‘slightly different’’, because she had been charged with trafficking.

‘‘It appears police have concerns that my client is a flight risk on the basis that she has failed to appear at court on one occasion,’’ he said.

‘‘She has got 15 pages of priors and she has been to court at least 49 times in the last three years. One fail to appear is really quite a good attendance.’’

Mr Slater warned Ms Stuthridge that he was about to say something unusual before saying: ‘‘She is at her best when she is on bail. Thrived whilst she is subject to bail conditions. One matter in 2016 required her to attend court 16 times (and Ms Knight did)’’.

Police prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Chris Cole argued that Ms Knight was an unacceptable risk to the public due the nature of the charges.

‘‘If Ms Knight is ultimately found guilty she would be facing a substantial term of imprisonment,’’ he said.

Leading Sen Const Cole said with an alleged amount of about 35g of methamphetamines, Ms Knight was found with more than 10 times the minimum quantity of drugs regarded as trafficable.

Magistrate Stuthridge said due to the ‘‘awful lot’’ of methamphetamines located on Ms Knight, she was not satisfied her release was justified.

Ms Knight was remanded in custody and will reappear in court on April 17.

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