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‘Drug dealer’ out on $50,000 bail

Tuesday, 15th April, 2014

By Andrew Robertson

A man facing more than 100 counts of supplying methamphetamine has been released on bail after his step-father offered up $50,000 in surety.

Brad Symonds will forfeit the cash if his stepson, Leigh Dean Gaiter, breaks any of the “stringent” bail conditions imposed by magistrate Clare Farnan yesterday.

One of those conditions requires Gaiter to reside at Mr Symonds’ property, about 20km from Broken Hill on the Tibooburra Road, and to report to police daily.

Gaiter has also been ordered not to associate with two other local people and not to approach the BH airport.

The 30-year-old was arrested in a raid on a Blende Street house last week and charged with 114 counts of supplying methamphetamine and two counts 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.

Police told a bail hearing on Wednesday that they had intercepted and recorded 8900 voice messages and 13,800 text messages from Gaiter’s mobile phone over a four-month period.

After spending the weekend in custody, Gaiter appeared in the Local Court yesterday morning where he again applied for bail.

This time he had in his corner a Sydney barrister, who told Ms Farnan that police so far had “a weak case” against his client.

Emmanuel Kerkyasharian said there remained doubt as to whether Gaiter was the person whose calls and texts were intercepted by police.

“He’s not alleged to be a sophisticated drug dealer; he’s never left Australia, he’s barely left Broken Hill. 

“He cannot be regarded as a flight risk.”

But police prosecutor Brad Scanlon told Ms Farnan that one local detective knew Gaiter and could verify that it was his voice on the phone.

Police also had taken a photograph of the accused during an alleged drug meeting they learned about from listening to the intercepted calls, Sgt Scanlon said.

“The communications are about the supply of drugs and not anything else.” 

Ms Farnan, who took a brief recess to read through the police evidence, said there appeared little doubt the calls and messages related to drug dealing.

But she said on the current evidence the case could only be considered strong if police could prove Gaiter was the person using the phone.

In the meantime, she said stringent bail conditions imposed on Gaiter would mitigate the chances of him failing to appear in court.

She granted bail and adjourned the matter until April 29.

Gaiter, whose parents and girlfriend were in court for the bail application, was not required to enter a plea.

Investigations into the supply of amphetamines in Broken Hill produced another arrest yesterday when a local man was charged with 12 counts of supplying a prohibited drug.

The 53-year-old was bailed to appear in the BH Local Court on May 13.

It is the third arrest in relation to the investigation and police have said that more are planned.

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