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“Dealer” under surveillance

Thursday, 10th April, 2014

By Craig Brealey

Detectives intercepted phone calls to an alleged drug dealer for four months before arresting him in a raid on a Blende Street house this week.

But the 30-year-old man’s lawyer told the bail court yesterday that, apart from the phone calls, there was little physical evidence against his client.

Leigh Dean Gaiter was arrested on Tuesday and charged with 114 counts of supplying methaphetamines and two of supplying cannabis.

He was also charged with one count of supplying a prescription drug, burglary and possessing $1000 suspected of being the proceeds of crime.

Detective Senior Constable Richard Liston told the court that Gaiter’s arrest was the result of a “sophisticated and meticulous investigation” in which 8900 voice messages and 13,800 text messages were intercepted and recorded by detectives from Gaiter’s mobile phone.

Police estimated the street value of the methamphetamines at $35,000. 

Gaiter appeared in court via video link from jail to apply for bail which DSC Liston opposed, telling the court registrar that apart from the apparent strength of the evidence against him, he had twice failed to appear in court in Victoria, had no fixed place of abode and was unemployed.

This meant that if given bail he might be tempted to flee, the detective said.

But Gaiter’s lawyer, Wes Burton, told the court that the case was not as strong as police alleged.

Mr Burton said there was no evidence that the mobile phone even belonged to Gaiter.

“The phone intercepts relate to (a woman) in Bedford Park, New South Wales and we know nothing about her. What is her relationship to the accused?” he asked.

“It is alleged that he was using the phone but the only link is that he answered it once.”

Mr Burton said that when he did answer it, he had used his surname which was not the way most people would answer their own phones.

He said this showed that it was more likely that Gaiter was a purchaser of drugs rather than a supplier.

The 56 pages of police evidence did not mention that any drugs had been found when police executed their search warrant on Gaiter’s home, Mr Burton said.

“If anything came from that we would be well aware of it by now,” he said. 

In response, DSC Liston said that “the electrically-recorded evidence is compelling”.

Pressing for bail, Mr Burton said his client had no criminal record in NSW and that, as a Broken Hill local with family here, he had strong ties that made the risk of him fleeing slight.

His father was also willing to put up $50,000 cash as surety, he said.

But court registrar Regina Setz denied Gaiter bail, noting the large number of serious charges against him and her duty to protect the community.

Ms Setz remanded him to appear in the Local Court on Monday when, Mr Burton said, he would again seek bail.

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