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DRUG BUST: Magistrate grants $10,000 bail

Saturday, 25th May, 2019

Police display cannabis, a firearm and ammunition found in a raid on Thursday. PICTURE: Supplied Police display cannabis, a firearm and ammunition found in a raid on Thursday. PICTURE: Supplied

By Callum Marshall

A 54-year-old man faces a string of serious charges after police found more than 4kg of cannabis, a modified semi-automatic rifle, three banana magazines and 20 live rounds of ammunition at his home.

Randall Jones was granted bail in the Local Court yesterday, but with a serious list of conditions attached.

Police raided Mr Jones’ Chapple Street property on Thursday after a tip off.

Mr Jones’ charges include supplying cannabis (indictable quantity) and six firearms-related charges involving possession of an unregistered and prohibited firearm and ammunition, and not keeping the firearm safely.

In yesterday’s hearing at court, the prosecution opposed bail because the charges were “incredibly serious”, and could lead to a maximum 14-year jail sentence.

The prosecution argued that the combination of drugs possession and sophistication, alongside the weapons and ammo possession, made it difficult for them to approve bail.

The defence argued, however, that Mr Jones hadn’t been before the courts before, was well known in the community, and that his workshop business, employees and family would suffer while he was away.

Serious health issues such as chronic reflux, back pain and Crohn’s disease (bowel disease), with the latter being helped by cannabis use, was another factor to be considered, argued the defence.

Also brought up, was the addition of serious conditions attached to his bail and the intention to plead guilty to some elements of the order.

Defence further argued that the gun located at Mr Jones’ property was found in the back of his shed, stored safely away from family, and had never been fired.

Factoring all that in, it was argued that defence would not be entering into any pleas.

Magistrate Daniel Covington weighed up those arguments, alongside the “quite elaborate setup” of the cameras and fortified gates at Mr Jones’ property, and decided that bail would be approved on the condition of adhering to some important conditions.

In making his decision, Magistrate Covington said that while the, “combination of firearm, drugs and ammo suggested something more serious than (casually) growing cannabis”, Mr Jones’ prior character,  first time in custody, health issues and strong connection to Broken Hill had persuaded him to grant bail.

The conditions imposed upon Mr Jones’ bail, however, would involve reporting to police every day and not being able to enter any international airport, Broken Hill airport, or any other port of departure in Australia, during that time. 

Further conditions involved Mr Jones not being able to apply for a passport, not being able to leave Broken Hill, being put on a drug and alcohol restriction unless prescribed by a doctor, and having an acceptable person, in this case Mr Jones’ wife, forfeit a cash deposit of $10,000.

“Breach those conditions though,” said Magistrate Covington, “and I will happily refuse your bail.”

The matter has been adjourned until June 11. 

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