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‘No proof’ accused owns drugs

Tuesday, 26th May, 2015

A police raid on a house netted a large quantity of cannabis and so-called party drugs but there was no evidence that a man who lived there owned them, a lawyer has told the Local Court.

Rolly-John William Balchin (26) was arrested on Sunday afternoon and charged with supplying and possessing the drugs.

Police said they found 905 grams of cannabis and 35.8g of MDMA, a kind of “ecstasy”, in powder form inside a suitcase in a shed at the back of the house.

The location of the house was not disclosed by police.

Balchin was denied bail on the weekend and did not enter a plea when he faced court yesterday.

The police prosecutor alleged that Balchin told police who conducted the raid that he could be “killed” over their discovery of the drugs.

But his lawyer, Eric Craney, said this was just a “throwaway line” inspired by his being drunk and in a panic.

Mr Craney also questioned the strength of the case against his client.

“A careful reading of the facts clearly indicates that the drugs were not in his possession but were found in a shed at a house that he shared with at least two other people,” one of whom had also been arrested, Mr Craney said.

He also warned against “making assumptions” that the powder was really MDMA or that the suitcase belonged to Balchin. 

Mr Craney said he could be given bail because he had family in the city and would report to police every day.

If it was denied he would have to spend a long time on remand which could hinder the preparation of his defence, he said.

Magistrate Geoff Dunlevy said Balchin was facing “very serious allegations” which, if proved, could result in him going to jail.

But his criminal record was slight and he had never been convicted of any acts of violence, nor had he breached his bail conditions before, Mr Dunlevy said. 

He set bail at $1000 and ordered Balchin to report to police three days a week.

The matter will return to court on July 21.

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