Rebels suppliers fight to keep their ill-gotten gains
TWO prominent Central Queensland men caught up in a multi-million dollar drug syndicate that supplied the Rebels Motorcycle Club are fighting to stop authorities from confiscating their ill-gotten gains.
Michael Paul Falzon, from Ilbilbie, and James Thomas O'Brien, from Rockhampton, represented themselves in Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday in an application under the Criminal Proceeds Confiscation Act.
Barrister Mark Hinson, acting for the Crime and Misconduct Commission, said he only needed to show conviction certificates to prove the men had been using their properties for criminal activity.
He successfully sought leave from the court for proceeds assessment orders which will determine the market value of the drugs involved and any benefits of their criminal activity.
The calculated figure, if a court approves it down the track, could be used against property, which authorities have already restrained, belonging to Falzon and O'Brien.
Falzon was sentenced to 10 years jail while O'Brien was sentenced to 14 years for trafficking and producing methylamphetamines.
During sentencing, the court heard Falzon helped produced and traffick methylamphetamine, or ice between 1999 and 2003 at various properties outside Mackay, Rockhampton and Dalby.
Justice Ros Atkinson said Falzon - who made at least $1.5 million profit - was the "brains of the operation" with "thug" O'Brien.
She said the only benefits O'Brien apparently received in the partnership were a car, a $79,000 property and a vague promise that he'd be looked after when he was old.
Falzon has been through appeal processes trying to fight his convictions and has most recently applied to the Queensland Governor for a pardon.
He said all the exhibits relating to his trial had disappeared, arguing those and other documents he had trouble getting hold of would prove there was no illegal activity taking place on his properties.
"This is a 10-year lapse in time and now I'm expected to dig things up from history," he said.
"Ten years is a long time to find bits of paper.
"The conviction is just wrong. They say all this production was going on but it's all just made up."
The court heard O'Brien was serving time in solitary confinement and had no one to help him understand the documents he must peruse.
Justice Anthe Philippides gave O'Brien a month to review the material and put his submissions in writing.