'Aladdin's Cave' accused has bail application withdrawn
A BAIL application for a man charged with drug, firearm and stolen property offences has been withdrawn in court.
James Cook, 32, appeared via audio-visual link in Grafton Local Court yesterday, having pleaded guilty to six charges.
All charges stemmed from a search warrant carried out at a South Grafton caravan park on April 24, where a virtual "Aladdin's Cave"of suspected stolen goods was allegedly found in a dwelling occupied by Cook and his partner.
According to police details, it will be alleged that before police began the search, Cook told them two people had left a load of tools, batteries, machinery and equipment at the premises on April 22.
He allegedly said he intended to sort through the items to pick out what he wished to keep, and would pay the men about $500 for those items when they returned on Monday or Tuesday.
The firearm, a .22 calibre rifle which was found in a compartment above a dining table, was also among the items the men left, Cook allegedly said.
During the search, police also allegedly seized about 60g cannabis and a prohibited sling shot.
In Grafton Local Court yesterday, the 32-year-old appeared composed as defence solicitor Greg Coombes put forward a case for his release on bail.
He acknowledged the accused didn't have a great record in complying with court orders - evidenced by an intensive corrections order previously served - but said his circumstances had changed in that he now had a one-year-old child and an address at Coutts Crossing where he could live with his father.
Mr Coombes told the court a $500 bond could be put up as surety, and said the accused could report to Grafton Police Station as often as needed.
The point of releasing Cook on bail, Mr Coombes added, would be to seek an assessment for MERIT, a program that allows defendants to work towards rehabilitation.
The Crown argued against Cook's release, saying they saw no alternative for the magistrate but to impose a custodial sentence, especially in light of recent issues with stealing and receiving firearms in the Coffs/Clarence area.
"The court has concerns in relation to the protection of the community," the Crown said.
Magistrate Robyn Denes said she did not believe the Coutts Crossing address was a suitable place for Cook to live while on bail, but ultimately didn't have to make a final ruling as the bail application was formally withdrawn.
Cook will remain in custody and is expected to re-appear in Grafton Local Court on June 19.