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.