Bandidos sergeant at arms Christopher Barrett free on charge of cocaine possession at Brisbane airport
- The Courier-Mail
- August 23, 2013
BANDIDOS national sergeant at arms Christopher "Chubbs" Barrett just might be Mr Untouchable.
The hulking senior bikie yesterday walked from the Brisbane Magistrates Court with no case to answer on cocaine possession charges after his lawyers mounted an impressive legal challenge that also saw Magistrate Bronwyn Springer award him costs of $2750.
It was his second legal win this year, after charges levelled at him by police from Taskforce Hydra were dropped by the prosecution in March.
Mr Barrett, 38, was charged with grievous bodily harm at Loganlea as part of Operation Kilo Subdue in October.
At a committal hearing yesterday, Commonwealth prosecutor Daniel Caruana said Mr Barrett was charged with cocaine possession when he was searched by Customs officers after arriving from Indonesia at the Brisbane International Airport on December 15.
He said Mr Barrett was found with a zip-locked bag in his bum bag which contained 0.54g of a white powdered substance.
Witness David Dunne, a Customs officer, said the substance was a presumptive positive test for cocaine.
Witness Kathleen Campbell, a crime scene investigator with the Australian Federal Police, said she swabbed the substance at her Spring Hill office on February 13 and collected traces of cocaine, caffeine and Levamisole. Levamisole, normally used by veterinarians for worming, is a known cutting or cocaine-diluting agent.
Mr Barrett pleaded not guilty to the charge. Barrister Steve Zillman, for Mr Barrett, argued there was insufficient evidence to construct a prima-facie case or to permit a conviction.
He said there was no evidence what quantity of cocaine Mr Barrett had or whether it met the required threshold.
"Before a person may be said to possess a drug there must be evidence of such a quantity as to make it reasonable of common-sense and reality as to be the drug said to be in possession," Mr Zillman said.
"The only evidence before you is there was detected the presence of cocaine in powder in my client's possession but there is no evidence of that amount and that is the critical difficulty, in my submission, the prosecution faces."
Mr Caruana argued it was open to the magistrate to infer the powdered substance may have been of a greater quantity at some point.
"It's open to Your Honour to infer on the evidence the defendant, as a matter of common-sense and reality, possessed cocaine," he said.
Ms Springer upheld the submission Mr Barret had no case to answer because there was insufficient evidence to prove he was in possession of the drug.
Mr Zillman took aim at the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions in his application for costs to be awarded to Mr Barrett, adding that instructing solicitor Andrew McGinness put them on notice in March with regard to the issues that would be raised.
He said Mr McGinness received a response from the CDPP in May to say it would continue with the prosecution anyway.
"It was not sensibly, in my submission, a matter that ought to have been taken this far," Mr Zillman said.
Mr Caruana conceded his office was put on notice but the matter had continued "in good faith".
Ms Springer awarded Mr Barrett costs of $2750, adding it was "just, reasonable and proper" in the circumstances.
At Barrett's first appearance at Roma St Magistrates Court on the later-dropped grievous bodily harm charge in November last year his lawyer said "his criminal history is very limited" and the case against his client at the time was "thin and circumstantial" and there was "no evidence he was present when the victim received his injuries and no complaints were made".