Two in custody, only one bail
OF THE two people who fronted Proserpine Magistrates Court after being charged with burglary and possessing dangerous drugs, only one would walk free on bail.
The police version of events alleges Scott Harold James Elder, 33, and Claudia Jeffries, 20, were found in a cyclone-damaged house with the walls covered in spray paint and the taps left running.
Police prosecutor Hannah Beard said the owner of the property had noticed an unfamiliar car out the front and rung police.
The court heard that inside Mr Elder’s backpack was a purse belonging to Ms Jeffries which contained 12.1 grams of crystals. A presumptive test said was it methamphetamine, although a purity test was yet to be determined.
Mr Elder was also charged with possessing explosives, driving while disqualified by a court order, offences involving registration certificates, unlawful possession of a weapon and contravening a police requirement.
Mr Elder faces an unrelated public nuisance charge from June 5 and the court heard in an objection of bail affidavit that the mechanic had allegedly been dodging police.
Duty lawyer Elizabeth Smith said the father of three was due to start a new job next Monday and believed the house to be abandoned.
“He denies ransacking in relation to burglary, he could hear a tap already running while he was there,” Ms Smith said.
“There is no evidence paint was on them, that there was wet paint on the walls or spray cans located with them.”
Ms Smith also said the Airlie Beach man denied he knew about the drug in Ms Jeffries’ purse and believed police were targeting him.
Magistrate Simon Young, however, pointed out this was Mr Elder’s fourth charge of driving while disqualified within six months.
One alleged incident happened only one month after he received a suspended prison sentence for the same offence.
Mr Young cited Mr Elder’s “appalling history” and continuous disregard for the court’s authority when he found him an unacceptable risk of reoffending and refused bail.
Also representing Ms Jeffries, Ms Smith told the court the Mackay resident was only at the house for half an hour after it was suggested the pair check out a “horror movie” house.
“She has put down roots in Mackay ... it seems to be only in this area (Airlie Beach) she gets caught up in trouble,” Ms Smith said.
In an objection to bail affidavit police submitted a photo of Ms Jeffries on her phone with a glass pipe dated three weeks after she received a probation order for another drug-related offence in Mackay.
Mr Young said strict bail conditions, including not visiting the Airlie Beach or Cannonvale area, random drug testing and tri-weekly reporting, would reduce the risk of Ms Jeffries reoffending to a reasonable level.
Bail was granted.