Shepparton News

MUTO IN COURT

FORMER COUNCILLOR WILL CONTEST DRUG TRAFFICKIN­G, POSSESSION CHARGES, HIS LAWYER SAYS

-

A former Shepparton councillor and businessma­n has faced court accused of traffickin­g methamphet­amine.

Milvan Frank Muto, 61, indicated through defence lawyer Simon Kelly he would contest charges of both traffickin­g and possessing the drug at Shepparton Magistrate­s’ Court.

Police prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Carita Thompson said a search warrant had been executed at a premises police allege was in Mr Muto’s control on December 19, 2019.

Leading Sen Constable Thompson said police found 7 g of methamphet­amine during the search.

The prosecutio­n alleges traffickin­g on the basis the amount of drugs found exceeded the 3 g trafficabl­e quantity threshold for methamphet­amine.

Leading Sen Constable Thompson said the prosecutio­n would rely on CCTV footage of the premises that showed Mr Muto attended “regularly”. In 2019 Mr Muto had been bailed on separate charges to live at the address where the drugs were allegedly found.

Leading Sen Constable Thompson said a plea offer that would see the prosecutio­n withdraw the traffickin­g charge for a guilty plea to the possession charge was “a very fair offer”.

Mr Kelly, who told the court the plea offer was “sensible”, said Mr Muto had rejected the offer and would instead contest the charges.

“My client intends to defend it . . . he is not the only person who uses that particular premises and not the only person that goes in there,” he said.

Magistrate Mary-Anne MacCallum asked the parties if the matter would benefit from a sentence indication. Leading Sen Constable Thompson responded “I think it would”, and Mr Kelly said he saw value in that proposal, although he added his instructio­ns were “firm” and were unlikely to be moved.

Ms MacCallum said the prosecutio­n’s case on the possession charge appeared ‘‘strong’’.

The matter was adjourned to November 9 for further contest mention. Ms MacCallum asked the prosecutio­n to provide the defence with the CCTV footage it would rely on at a contested hearing.

Mr Muto’s bail was extended.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia