Bronco-turned-bikie Michael Spence freed after serving 18 months for drug trafficking
- Tom Snowdon
- The Courier-Mail
- July 01, 2015 12:00AM
Footy-player-turned-bikie Michael Kenneth Spence, 27, was originally charged with trafficking methamphetamine as part of a criminal organisation with an unlawful purpose.
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The charges were laid under the former Newman government’s contentious Criminal Organisation Disruption Amendment Act.
However in a fresh indictment handed to the Brisbane Supreme Court yesterday, Spence agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of selling drugs. He also admitted to handling money reasonably suspected of being obtained through the proceeds of crime.
Crown prosecutor Glen Cash said Spence was also caught on a camera hidden in the Millennium Locksmiths office counting cash on eight occasions. It is believed the money was obtained through drug sales, which the court heard Spence would have eventually realised, allegedly orchestrated by owners of the business, Bruno and Nuno Da Silva.
“It’s alleged (the Da Silvas) were engaged in quite a substantial amount of trafficking methamphetamine,” Mr Cash said.
The prosecution insisted it was not alleging Spence was lining his own pockets with the cash. But it said the one-time Broncos player did profit from the proceeds of crime through his wages.
On another occasion, the court heard Spence was directly involved in the sale of methamphetamine to a client in October 2013. However it was unknown how much was sold, or if Spence was present at the time.
Defence barrister Jeff Hunter, instructed by Lawler Magill, argued his client had already served more jail time than a person would likely receive for committing similar crimes.
The qualified plumber was forced to quit playing professional football in 2010 after he was diagnosed with degenerative arthritis in his hips, Mr Hunter said. However there had been a medical development which could see his condition ease.
In sentencing, Justice David Boddice said it was “unfortunate in the extreme” the defendant had served such a long period of time in custody for the crimes he was pleading guilty to. However, he stressed that was not a criticism directed towards any party.
Justice Boddice dismissed the defence’s suggestion of imposing a sentence between nine and 12 months, instead handing down two concurrent 18-month prison terms wholly suspended.
Outside court the defendant’s father Greg Spence said he was happy his son was a free man.